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,^J^'       NEW  YORK  •   BOSTON   •    CHICAGO    •  DALLAS 

MACMILLAN  &  CO.,  Limited 




THE  /^a^-^'rJ" 


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AU  rights  reserved 


COPVKIGMT,   1916, 


Set  up  and  electrotyped.     Published  August,  19x6. 

VntfDooH  linsf : 

Berwick  &  Smith  Co.,  Norwood,  Mau.,  U.SJL 


».-  LP 







Latin  America  and  the  United  States  resemble  two 
neighbors  who  have  long  lived  side  by  side,  each  too  busy 
with  private  matters  to  take  more  than  an  indifferent  if 
not  hostile  interest  in  the  other.  Recently  we  North 
Americans  have  been  taking  a  broader  interest  in  our 
neighbors.  The  building  of  the  Panama  Canal  has  di- 
rected our  attention  to  the  south.  We  have  discovered 
that  those  vast  unknown  regions  are  inhabited  by  human 
beings  worthy  of  being  better  known  though  their  char- 
acter differ  widely  from  our  own. 

So  great  is  our  lack  of  acquaintance  with  our  southern 
neighbors  that  few  can  say  with  ex-President  Taft: — 
"I  know  the  attractiveness  of  the  Spanish  American;  I 
know  his  highborn  courtesy;  I  know  his  love  of  art,  his 
poet  nature,  his  response  to  generous  treatment,  and  I 
know  how  easily  he  misunderstands  the  thoughtless 
bluntness  of  an  Anglo-Saxon  diplomacy,  and  the  too  fre- 
quent lack  of  regard  for  the  feelings  of  others  that  we  have 
inherited."    {The  Independent,  Dec.  i8,  1913.) 

What  ex-President  Taft  thus  writes  from  personal 
experience,  it  is  possible  for  others  to  learn  by  reading  the 
books  written  by  Spanish  Americans.  The  main  char- 
acteristics and  trend  of  the  Spanish-American  mind  are 
revealed  in  his  literature. 

But  shall  we  call  Spanish-American  writings  literature? 
A  professor  in  Argentina  wished  a  few  years  ago  to  estab- 

viii  PREFACE 

lish  a  course  for  students  in  Spanish-American  literature. 
The  plan  was  opposed  by  Bartolome  Mitre,  ex-President 
of  the  republic  and  himself  a  poet  and  historian  of  the  first 
rank,  on  the  ground  that  such  a  thing  did  not  exist.  He 
held  the  view  that  mere  numbers  of  books  did  not  form  a 
literature;  though  united  by  the  bond  of  a  common 
language,  the  printed  productions  of  Spanish  Americans 
had  no  logical  union  nor  gave  evidence  of  an  evolution 
toward  a  definite  goal.  On  the  other  hand,  he  admitted 
that  their  "literary  productions  might  be  considered,  not 
as  models  but  as  facts,  classified  as  the  expression  of  their 
social  life  during  three  periods,  the  colonial  epoch,  the 
struggle  for  freedom,  and  the  independent  existence  of  the 
several  republics." 

Such  is  the  general  plan  adopted  for  this  book.  The 
conditions  of  life  during  the  colonial  period  and  the  com- 
mon aim  of  the  different  countries  during  the  revolutionary 
epoch  gave  a  certain  similarity  to  their  literary  produc- 
tions. Freedom  won,  however,  each  country  pursued  its 
own  course  in  literature  as  in  politics. 

These  two  are  interdependent.  Literature  is  often 
meaningless  without  an  understanding  of  contemporary 
politics.  Everywhere  the  literary  expression  of  politics  is 
found  in  journalism.  In  Spanish  America  it  is  found  also 
in  verse  and  fiction.  So  the  broad  lines  of  politics  have 
been  taken  in  this  book  as  a  guide  through  the  maze  of 

The  judgment  which  one  renders  on  the  value  of  Spanish- 
American  literature  depends  entirely  on  the  point  of  view 
with  which  the  critic  approaches  its  study.  If  he  considers 
it  a  branch  or  sub-order  of  Spanish  literature,  he  will  reach 


conclusions  similar  to  those  of  the  late  Marcelino  Menen- 
dezy  Pelayo  in  his  Historiade  la  Poesia  Hispano-americana. 
To  him  as  a  Spaniard  the  exuberance  of  American  pa- 
triotic verse  is  not  only  detestable  but  bad  literature.  To 
his  mind  only  those  productions  have  worth  which  ap- 
proximate the  standard  set  by  Spanish  classics. 

Another  critic  has  observed  the  frank  imitadon  of 
French  models.  It  is  true  that  Spanish-American  writers 
in  their  eagerness  to  reject  Spain  have  taken  France 
as  the  intellectual  leader  of  their  Latin  America.  The 
term  Latin-American  republics  which  they  prefer  has  the 
justification  of  permitting  the  inclusion  of  Portuguese- 
speaking  Brazil  and  an  easy  absorption  of  the  numerous 
Italian  element  of  Argentina.  Moreover,  it  makes  possible 
a  claim  of  kinship  with  admired  France.  But  a  critic  who 
attempts  to  set  forth  the  literature  of  Latin  America 
wholly  on  the  basis  of  its  relation  to  French  literature  will 
miss  both  its  significance  and  its  originality. 

Both  spring  from  the  history  and  language  of  the  Latin- 
American  republics.  The  language  of  Spanish  America  is 
not  only  permeated  with  terms  and  expressions  taken  from 
its  daily  life  but  also  differs  in  pronunciation  and  structure 
from  the  Castilian  even  more  than  the  English  of  North 
America  from  the  educated  speech  of  England.  As  to  the 
originality  of  Spanish-American  literature  it  lies  chiefly  in 
the  subject-matter,  in  its  pictures  of  natural  scenery  and 
social  life. 

From  the  moment  of  their  discovery  of  America  the 
Spaniards  were  amazed  at  the  great  rivers,  the  lofty 
Andes  mountains,  the  luxuriance  of  tropical  vegetation. 
And  when  they  expressed  their  amazement  in  literary 


form,  Virgil  was  their  model.  To  the  participants  in  the 
conquest  of  the  new  world  their  enterprise  resembled  the 
deeds  of  knight  errantry  related  by  Ariosto.  So  in  imita- 
tion of  his  art  they  often  wrote  down  the  story  of  their 
exploits  in  poems  in  which  truth  sometimes  paid  tribute  to 
form.  In  the  nineteenth  century,  when  the  reconstruction 
of  the  past  became  the  popular  literary  fashion  under  the 
influence  of  romanticism,  the  legends  of  the  colonial  period 
supplied  the  poet  with  ample  material.  Later,  when 
naturalistic  fiction  came  into  vogue,  ambitious  followers  of 
Zola  in  Spanish  America  found  ready  at  hand  a  novel 
type  of  society  to  portray.  Thus  the  form  of  Latin- 
American  literature  has  been  imitative  while  the  matter 
is  original. 

For  an  English-speaking  American  then  who  desires  a 
better  acquaintance  with  the  mentality  of  his  Spanish- 
American  neighbors  this  book  will  offer  a  guide.  The 
literature  of  Brazil  written  in  Portuguese  and  so  rich  as  to 
require  a  volume  almost  as  large  as  the  present  for  its 
adequate  exposition,  is  therefore  not  included.  The  reader, 
aware  at  the  outset  that  he  has  before  him  an  extremely 
provincial  type  of  literature,  will  not  expect  great  master- 
pieces. On  the  other  hand,  he  will  learn  what  effect  has 
been  produced  on  the  transplanted  Spaniard  by  living  on 
the  great  plains  of  Argentina.  He  will  better  comprehend 
the  difference  between  the  sober  energetic  Chilean  and  the 
fun-loving  Peruvian  or  the  passionate  Venezuelan.  He 
will  understand  why  there  have  been  so  many  revolutions 
in  Mexico.  The  anecdotes  of  poets*  lives  and  the  tragic 
stories  of  men  who  have  lived  and  died  for  an  ideal  will 
inspire  him  with  greater  respect  for  a  country  which  like 


Cuba  struggled  a  whole  century  for  its  freedom.  Even  the 
names  of  the  various  writers,  the  constantly  recurring 
Jose  Maria,  Joaquin,  Manuel,  will  impress  him  with  the 
deeply  religious  sentiments  of  these  peoples. 

The  difficulty  of  preparing  this  book  has  been  great. 
Only  two  really  valuable  collections  of  works  by  Spanish- 
American  authors  exist  in  this  country,  one  in  the  library 
of  the  Hispanic  Society  of  America,  the  other  in  the  library 
of  Harvard  University.  Both  are  far  from  being  complete, 
but  fortunately  they  supplement  each  other.  Histories  of 
the  literatures  of  the  several  countries  have  been  written 
by  natives  only  of  Argentina,  Venezuela  and  Uruguay,  and 
these  are  defective  in  many  ways.  The  dates  of  the  births 
and  deaths  of  the  writers,  for  example,  are  not  always 
given.  Spanish  Americans  in  treating  the  literatures  of 
their  own  countries  usually  include  a  consideration  of 
historical  writings,  but  the  limits  of  this  book  allow  only  a 
casual  mention  of  the  most  important  works  of  purely 
historical  or  scientific  content.  Periodicals,  on  the  other 
hand,  have  demanded  attention  because,  as  the  means  of 
immediate  publicity  for  literary  endeavor,  they  have  often 
played  a  considerable  role  in  literary  history  and  now  sup- 
ply the  investigator  with  much  material. 

On  account  of  the  character  of  his  sources  of  informa- 
tion, not  always  reliable,  the  author  of  the  present  volume 
may  have  wrongly  estimated  the  work  of  any  given  writer 
or  even  omitted  mention  of  some  whom  a  compatriot  may 
deem  important.  Any  grievous  errors  either  of  judgment 
or  of  omission  should  therefore  be  condoned. 

The  author  wishes  here  to  thank  for  their  kind  assistance 
in  various  ways  Sefior  Paul  Groussac,  the  learned  librarian 


of  the  national  library  at  Buenos  Aires,  Seiior  Carlos  de 
Velasco,  editor  of  the  excellent  review  Cuba  Contempo- 
raneay  Seiior  Pedro  Henriquez  Urefia,  critic  and  formerly 
professor  at  the  University  of  Mexico,  Senor  Max  Hen- 
riquez Urefia,  poet  and  essayist,  Doctor  Gonzalo  Picon 
Febres,  novelist  and  advocate  of  Americanism  in  litera- 
ture, the  late  Dr.  W.  R.  Martin,  librarian  of  the  Hispanic 
Society  of  America,  and  Professor  E.  C.  Hills.  To  J.  D.  M. 
Ford,  Smith  professor  of  literature  in  Harvard  University, 
the  author  is  indebted  for  the  suggestion,  which  led  to  the 
writing  of  this  book. 

New  York,  191 6. 



I.  The  Colonial  Period i 

II.  The  Revolutionary  Period 39. 

III.  The  Revolutionary  Period  in  North  America  . .  79 

IV.  Argentina  .^ 104 

V.  Uruguay 169 

VI.  Chile 196 

VII.  Peru  and  Bolivia 244 

VIII.  Ecuador 264 

IX.  Colombia 273 

X.  Venezuela 305 

XL  Mexico 334 

XII.  Cuba 373 

XIII.  Santo  Domingo,  Puerto  Rico,  Central  America  431 

XIV.  The  Modernista  Movement 450 

Bibliography 477 

Index  of  Names 483 





Spanish  enterprise  on  the  American  continent  had  for 
its  participants  the  nature  of  a  conquest.  Trained  on  the 
battle  fields  of  Italy  under  leaders  who  had  assisted  Fer- 
dinand of  Aragon  to  expel  from  Spanish  soil  the  last  of  the 
Moorish  invaders,  they  carried  across  the  Atlantic  the 
ideals  of  the  successful  soldier.  A  mere  handful  of  them  so 
well  protected  by  steel  armor  against  the  weapons  of  the 
natives  and  so  able  to  inspire  terror  in  their  opponents  by 
means  of  their  horses  and  the  flash  and  roar  of  their  mus- 
ketry was  enough  to  win  an  empire.  When  a  common 
Spanish  soldier  could  rise  to  the  possession  of  immense 
wealth  and  hold  sway  over  millions  of  human  beings,  a 
new  world  had  certainly  been  discovered.  To  Spaniards 
no  other  name  was  so  fitting  for  this  continent  as  that  by 
which  it  was  constantly  called,  "el  Nuevo  Mundo,"  The 
New  Worid. 

They  were  not  actuated,  however,  merely  by  the  lure  of 
gold.  A  religious  fanaticism  carried  them  like  crusaders 
into  unknown  dangers.  Wherever  they  went  their  first 
care  was  to  plant  the  cross.  So  early  as  Columbus'  second 
voyage  thirteen  monks  sailed  with  him  for  the  purpose  of 


converting  the  natives  to  Christianity.  Thus  the  monastic 
establishment  became  an  integral  part  of  every  consider- 
able Spanish  settlement.  To  the  honor  of  the  monks  and 
priests  be  it  said  that,  having  the  natives  as  their  especial 
care,  they  made  heroic  efforts  to  protect  the  poor  wretches 
from  the  rapacity  of  the  seekers  after  gold. 

Columbus  selected  for  permanent  settlement  on  account 
of  its  gold  mines  the  island  which  he  named  Hispaniola, 
now  called  Santo  Domingo  or  Haiti.  For  many  years  it 
received  a  considerable  immigration  of  men  of  substance 
coming  to  America  with  their  families,  though  many  later 
proceeded  farther  west.  After  the  discovery  of  the  main- 
land the  two  most  important  centers  of  Spanish  civiliza- 
tion in  America  became  Mexico  City  and  Lima,  La  Ciudad 
de  los  Reyes,  as  it  was  named  by  its  founder  Francisco 
Pizarro,  the  conquistador  of  Peru.  ^ 

The  Aztec  city  of  Tenochtitlah,  developed  and  extended 
under  the  more  pronounceable  name  of  Mexico,  was  estab- 
lished by  Heman  Cortes  as  the  capital  of  Nueva  Espaiia. 
The  name  Mexico  for  the  whole  country  was  not  adopted 
till  after  the  separation  from  Spain.  New  Spain  or  Mexico 
on  account  of  its  geographical  situation,  its  climate,  its 
greater  proximity  to  the  mother  country  possessed  during 
the  golden  period  of  Spanish  literature  a  high  degree  of 
^culture.  From  those  bibliographical  manuals  in  rhyme, 
Cervantes'  Fiaje  de  Parnaso  and  Lope  de  Vega's  Laurel 
de  A  polo,  written  respectively  in  1614  and  1630,  one  may 
learn  how  numerous  were  the  versifiers  and  the  dramatists 
who  practiced  the  poetic  art  on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic. 

Peru  also  received  a  full  contingent  of  men  of  letters,  but 
on  account  of  its  greater  wealth  in  gold  and  silver  there 


were  attracted  thither  more  purely  adventurous  spirits. 
Among  them  were  men  of  the  highest  Spanish  nobility. 
And  a  transfer  in  a  governmental  position  from  Mexico 
to  Peru  was  apparently  regarded  as  a  promotion. 

The  government  of  the  Spanish  dominions  in  America 
was  entrusted  to  viceroys  assisted  by  a  court  or  audiencia 
composed  of  several  judges.  At  first  Nueva  Espaiia  and 
Peru  were  the  only  viceroyalties,  for  outlying  regions  were 
administered  by  a  member  of  the  audiencia.  It  is  needless 
to  say  that  the  holders  of  such  responsible  positions  were 
men  of  education  and  culture.  For  their  own  entertain- 
ment the  viceroys,  if  not  always  poets  themselves  as  was 
sometimes  the  case,  encouraged  at  their  courts  the  produc- 
tion of  literature. 

Even  the  first  explorers  were  often  men  of  literary 
y^  attainments.  The  letters  of  Columbus  and  the  reports  of 
Cortes  to  their  monarchs  are  well  known.  Similar  cartas 
(kjrelacion  were  returned  to  Spain  from  almost  every  ex- 
pedition, so  that  few_events  in  history  have  been  more 
fully  covered  by  a  written  record  than  the  Spanish  con- 
quest of  America.  These  accounts  of  exploration  and 
adventure  have  value  not  only  as  historical  documents  of 
prime  importance  but  as  literary  productions.  With  due 
allowance  for  differences  in  style  and  point  of  view  one 
may  say  that  their  writers  had  as  keen  an  appreciation  of 
sensational  effect  as  any  modem  war  correspondent. 

Close  at  the  heels  of  the  men  at  arms  came  friars  who 

made  it  their  business  to  gather  at  first  hand  materials  for 

their  writings.     The  most  famous  of  these  is  Fray  Bar- 

^tolome  de  las  Casas  whose  Historia  de  las  Indias  was 

written  especially  for  the  purpose  of  voicing  an  indignant 


protest  against  the  treatment  of  the  Indians  at  the  hands 
of  his  fellow  countrymen.  Other  historical  compilations, 
like  the  narratives  of  the  conquistadores,  are  so  numerous 
that  a  consideration  of  them  is  beyond  the  limits  of  this 
book.  They  cover  practically  every  phase  of  Spanish 

Another  class  of  writers,  some  of  whom  were  members  of 
religious  orders,  consisted  of  men  born  in  America  who 
wrote  with  enthusiasm  for  love  of  their  native  soil.  Special 
interest  attaches  to  those  who  had  in  their  veins  blood  of 
the  conquered  races.  Having  learned  from  their  mothers 
the  native  language  and  moods,  they  were  able  to  pen- 
etrate beneath  the  surface  of  the  aboriginal  mind  and 

^  traditions.  In  Peru  the  IacaJaarcilas?9--deJ^JVega  (1540- 
1616)  owed  his  title  to  his  ancestry,  his  mother  being  of 
the  blood  royal,  granddaughter  of  Tupac  Yupanqui  and 
niece  of  Huayna  Capac,  and  his  celebrity  to  his  Comen- 
tarios  re  ales,  published  as  written  in  two  parts  in  1609  and 
1 61 6.  As  history  the  book  is  not  absolutely  reliable,  but 
as  entertaining  literature  it  is  unsurpassed  by  any  other 
of  the  histories  of  Peru.  Moreover,  it  presents  within  cer- 
tain limits  the  native  point  of  view  of  the  conquest,  with 
many  details  of  history  and  manners  which  only  a  person 
with  such  an  ancestry  could  give. 

A  somewhat  similar  position  in  the  history  of  Mexico 

X^  was  held  by  Fernando  de  Alva  Ixtlilxochitl,  a  lineal  de- 
scendant of  the  royal  line  of  Tezcuco,  who  was  employed 
by  the  viceroy  as  an  interpreter.  The  results  of  his  re- 
searches in  native  history,  made  early  in  the  seventeenth 
century,  were  contained  in  various  volumes  of  which  the 
most  important  was  entitled  Historia  Chichimeca.     The 


subject  of  aboriginal  writers  in  Mexico  alone  requires 
however  several  books  for  its  complete  exposition. 

Education  and  culture  in  America  were  fostered  by  two 
actions  of  the  Spanish  authorities,  the  establishment  of 
universities  and  the  introduction  of  the  printing  press, 
both  the  care  of  the  clergy.  The  first  book  printed  in 
America  was  the  Breve  y  Compendiosa  Doctrina  Christiana  ^ 
en  lengua  mexicana  y  castellana,  1539,  by  Fray  Juan  de 
Zumarraga,  first  bishop  of  Mexico.  By  a  strange  coin- 
cidence the  first  universities  in  America  were  both  au- 
thorized by  Charles  the  Fifth  in  the  same  year,  1551,  to 
be  established  in  Mexico  and  Lima. 

The  printing  of  a  book  in  the  Spanish  colonies  was  not  a 
matter  to  be  lightly  undertaken,  for  it  was  a  costly  opera- 
tion. It  was  therefore  enjoyed  only  by  authors  with 
money  or  wealthy  patrons.  For  that  reason  many  a  poem 
of  the  early  period  has  remained  in  manuscript.  Recent 
interest  in  colonial  history  has  brought  to  light  some  of 
these  manuscripts.  Doubtless  many  more  still  lie  for- 
gotten in  the  dust  of  some  library  of  Europe  or  America. 
One  curious  result  of  the  expense  attending  the  manufac- 
ture of  a  book  is  the  fact  that  some  of  the  best  executed 
works,  printed  on  the  finest  paper,  and  handsomely  bound, 
are  the  most  worthless  from  the  point  of  view  of  literature. 
They  contain  the  verses  of  occasion  produced  and  recited 
at  the  exercises  held  to  commemorate  the  death  of  a  mon-  • 


arch,  the  birth  of  a  prince,  or  the  induction  into  his  office 
of  some  viceroy.     Concerning  the  history  of  the  printing 
in  Spanish  America  certain  bibliographers  have  performed 
a  notable  service,  and  recorded  every  printed  work. 
The  sixteenth  century  was  preeminently  a  period  when 



the  love  of  adventure  possessed  the  souls  of  men,  and  the 
literary  expression  of  that  spirit  in  its  most  artistic  form 
is  the  Orlando  furioso  of  Ariosto.  In  its  complete  form 
the  poem  was  published  in  1532,  one  year  before  the  au- 
thor's death.  By  the  middle  of  the  century  not  only 
did  metrical  translations  begin  to  appear  in  Spain  but 
original  heroic  poems  in  the  same  metrical  form  became 
the  fashion.  Acknowledged  by  every  critic  to  be  the  most 
successful  of  these  epical  compositions  was  Alonso  de 
Ercilla  y  Zuiiiga's  poem,  La  Araucana,  based  on  per- 
sonal adventures  in  Chile.  This  was  the  first  work  of  real 
literary  merit  composed  in  America. 

In  our  review  of  literature  during  the  colonial  period 
of  Spanish  America  it  is  necessary  to  omit  consideration 
of  purely  historical  records.  Yet  histories  of  course  make 
up  the  bulk  of  what  was  written  about  America  and  in 
America  at  this  time.  And  even  when  the  writer  thought 
to  embellish  his  story  by  putting  it  in  metrical  form,  its 
value  lies  more  in  the  historical  facts  than  in  its  literary 
qualities.  But  the  Araucana  stands  apart  from  the  other 
poems  of  the  same  type  both  in  its  intrinsic  worth  and  in 
its  influence  on  Spanish-American  literature  even  during 
the  nineteenth  century.  Regarding  it  the  Spanish  literary 
historian  Ferrer  del  Rio  says,  "It  would  be  difficult  to 
find  a  livelier  impression  of  the  Spanish  sixteenth  cen- 
tury, the  great  passions  of  Charles  V  and  Phillip  II,  war, 
daring  navigation,  distant  conquests,  a  love  for  the  un- 
known and  for  adventures,  religious  sentiment  and  vener- 
ation for  the  sacred  objects  of  worship." 

Alonso  de  Ercilla  y  Zufiiga  (1533-94)  was  born  in  the 
same  year  that  Ariosto  died.     The  translations  of  the 


Orlando  furioso  became  popular  in  Spain  just  before 
Ercilla  set  out  for  America.  In  fact  Ercilla  referred  to 
Ariosto  as  one  of  his  models;  the  imitation,  however,  was 
more  general  than  particular,  for  Ercilla's  episodes  were 
chiefly  historical  facts,  rather  than  poetical  inventions. 
At  the  outset  of  his  poem  he  announces  that  he  does  not 
intend  to  sing  of  ladies,  love  and  chivalrous  deeds  which 
is  quite  contrary  to  Aristo  who  makes  them  the  argument 
of  his  poem.  Moreover,  Ercilla  in  dedicating  his  work  to 
Phillip  II  assured  his  monarch  that  it  was  a  true  relation; 
and  to  give  weight  to  this  assertion  stated  that  the  book 
was  written  in  part  during  the  war  in  Chile  "often  on 
leather  for  lack  of  paper  and  on  bits  of  paper  sometimes 
so  small  that  they  contained  not  more  than  six  lines." 

Of  highborn  parentage  Ercilla  was  attached  at  the  age 
of  fifteen  to  the  suite  of  the  prince  Phillip  and  accompanied 
him  in  1548  when  he  went  to  take  possession  of  the  duchy 
of  Brabant.  He  traveled  with  the  prince  over  Europe 
for  the  next  six  years  and  was  with  him  in  England  in 
1554  when  Phillip  married  Mary  Tudor.  In  England 
Ercilla  made  the  acquaintance  of  Geronimo  de  Alderete, 
just  appointed  adelantado  of  Chile,  who  was  to  sail  with 
the  new  viceroy  of  Peru,  Andres  Hurtado  de  Mendoza. 
Ercilla,  eager  for  the  adventures  in  prospect,  because  news 
of  the  rebellion  of  the  Araucanian  Indians  had  reached 
Spain,  joined  the  expedition  and  arrived  at  Lima  in  1556. 
As  the  adelantado  Alderete  died  on  the  way,  the  viceroy 
appointed  his  son  Don  Garcia  to  lead  the  army  which 
should  restore  peace  in  Chile.  After  the  war  had  been 
in  progress  for  some  time  Ercilla  had  an  unfortunate 
quarrel  with  a  companion,  Juan  de  Pineda.     The  facts 


are  very  obscure,  but  for  some  reason  Don  Garcia  believed 
that  the  two  men  were  conspiring  against  his  authority. 
He  condemned  them  both  to  be  beheaded  and  the  men  were 
already  on  the  scaffold  before  Don  Garcia  was  persuaded 
to  relent  and  commute  their  punishment  to  imprisonment. 
Not  long  thereafter  Ercilla  was  released  and  allowed 
again  to  take  part  in  the  war.  But  he  cherished  such 
resentment  against  Don  Garcia  that  he  managed  to  leave 
Chile  and  return  to  Spain  in  1562.  There  he  found  favor 
again  with  Phillip  and  high  employment  in  business  of 
state.  In  1569  he  published  the  first  part,  consisting  of 
fifteen  cantos,  of  his  poem  La  Araucana.  The  second 
part  in  fourteen  cantos  he  completed  in  1578  and  the  third 
part  of  eight  cantos  in  1590. 

The  plan  of  the  poem  is  to  narrate  in  strictly  chrono- 
logical order  events  in  Chile.  The  first  twelve  cantos 
deal  with  the  raids  of  the  Indians  on  the  Spanish  settle- 
ments and  the  numerous  reprisals  which  occurred  before 
Ercilla's  arrival.  As  Ercilla  wished  to  minimize  Don 
Garcia  de  Mendoza's  part  in  the  war  the  heroes  of  the  poem 
are  not  the  minor  Spanish  leaders  whom  he  occasionally 
mentions  but  the  Indian  chiefs.  The  most  attractive  of 
these  is  the  young  Lautaro.  In  depicting  his  life  Ercilla, 
with  a  poetic  defense  of  the  role  of  love  in  human  life, 
probably  by  way  of  apology  for  changing  his  intention 
not  to  sing  of  ladies,  introduces  the  reader  to  Guacolda, 
Lautaro's  beautiful  wife.  Lautaro  is  surprised  at  night 
by  her  side  and  slain.  After  his  death  the  most  important 
of  the  various  Araucanian  caciques  is  Caupolican.  Of 
the  Spaniards  a  certain  common  soldier  Andrea  and  Er- 
cilla himself  play  the  most   prominent   r61es.     In    fact 


Ercilla  might  be  called  the  hero  of  the  poem  if  one  takes 
into  account  the  amount  of  space  devoted  to  his  personal 

On  the  other  hand,  the  poem  contains  certain  long  di- 
gressions from  the  main  narrative.  In  part  two  by  the 
machinery  of  a  personal  interview  of  the  poet  with  the 
Goddess  Bellona  contemporary  events  in  Europe,  espe- 
cially Phillip's  victories  in  Flanders,  are  recited.  Even 
the  naval  victory  of  the  Spaniards  over  the  Turks  at 
Lepanto,  though  subsequent  in  time  to  the  period  of  the 
poem,  is  described  as  it  was  revealed  to  Ercilla  through 
the  agency  of  a  magic  ball  belonging  to  an  old  magician 
whom  he  met  in  the  mountains.  In  the  third  canto  there 
is  a  long  digression  about  Dido.  Ercilla  is  requested  by 
some  soldiers  to  relate  the  true  story  of  the  famous  queen 
who  in  his  opinion  has  been  much  maligned. 

To  the  modem  reader  these  digressions  are  blemishes, 
but  at  the  time  of  the  publication  of  the  poem  they  very 
likely  assisted  in  making  it  popular.  The  victories  of 
their  king  and  the  naval  fight  at  Lepanto  were  events  of 
which  the  Spaniards  were  pleased  to  read  stirring  and 
poetic  accounts.  Against  the  background  of  the  distant 
war  in  Chile  they  were  enhanced  as  by  perspective.  The 
book,  immediately  and  immensely  popular,  passed  through 
more  editions  than  any  Spanish  book  of  the  century. 
The  eloquent  speeches  which  Ercilla  put  into  the  mouths 
of  both  Spaniards  and  Indians  met  the  taste  of  his  day. 
The  same  may  be  said  of  the  realistic  details  of  battles 
and  other  adventures,  so  realistic  at  times  as  to  be  grue- 
some and  repugnant,  for  Ercilla's  descriptive  power  was 
very  great.     On  the  other  hand,  the  poem  lacks  certain 


elements  of  general  human  interest  so  that  it  is  not  very 
attractive  to-day.  It  is  too  intensely  Spanish  in  senti- 

Its  local  Chilean  setting,  however,  has  brought  great 
popularity  in  Chile.  Towns  and  localities  have  been 
named  after  the  Indian  heroes.  In  their  war  for  inde- 
pendence Chilean  orators  and  poets  used  to  call  them- 
selves "sons  of  Caupolican."  The  first  war  vessel  of  the 
Chilean  navy  was  named  "Lautaro."  Episodes  and  in- 
cidents from  the  Araucana  which  is  held  to  be  almost  a 
national  poem,  have  been  the  inspiration  of  poems, 
novels  and  plays. 

After  Ercilla's  death  a  certain  Diego  de  Santistevan 
Osorio,  of  whom  nothing  beyond  what  he  tells  of  himself 
is  known,  published  at  Salamanca  in  1597  a  poem,  La 
Araucana,  Quarta  y  Quinta  parte  en  que  se  prosigue  y 
acaba  la  historia  de  D.  Alonso  de  Ercilla.  The  adventures 
related  appear  to  be  wholly  imaginary  combats  between 
the  Indians  and  the  Spaniards. 

Another  poem,  Arauco  Domado,  treating  the  same 
events  in  some  sixteen  thousand  verses  divided  into 
nineteen  cantos,  was  printed  at  Lima  in  1596.  The  author 
was  a  native-born  Chilean,  Ee<iia_de._Qna,.  the  son  of  a 
Spanish  captain  fighting  the  Indians  in  southern  Chile. 
He  was  sent  to  the  University  of  San  Marcos  in  Lima  in 
1590.  Two  years  later  he  took  part  in  an  expedition  to 
Quito  to  quell  an  uprising.  From  this  campaign  he  re- 
turned with  much  historical  material  and  possibly  the 
idea  of  putting  into  verse  the  deeds  in  the  same  region  of 
Don  Garcia  Hurtado  de  Mendoza. 

In  his  poem  Pedro  de  Oiia  declared  himself  an  imitator 


of  Ercllla  but  made  no  pretension  of  competing  with  him. 
The  Arauco  Domado  is  in  no  sense  a  continuation  of  the 
Araucana  but  a  new  version  of  the  historical  facts  con- 
tained in  the  second  part  of  the  latter  poem.  The  narra- 
tive begins  with  the  sending  to  Chile  of  his  son,  Don 
Garcia,  by  the  viceroy  Don  Andres  Hurtado  de  Mendoza. 
While  Ercilla  had  written  mainly  about  the  Indians 
with  slight  reference  to  Don  Garcia,  Pedro  de  Oiia  de- 
sired to  repair  this  injustice  by  relating  the  personal 
exploits  of  the  Spanish  commander.  To  emphasize  the 
part  played  by  that  nobleman,  Pedro  de  Ona  did  not 
hesitate  to  violate  either  unity  of  plan  or  chronological 
order.  His  main  narrative  concerned  the  preparations 
of  the  savages  for  an  attack  on  a  Spanish  fort  and  its 
successful  defense  by  Don  Garcia.  The  latter's  subse- 
quent acts  as  viceroy  of  Peru  in  subduing  a  rebellion  in 
Quito  and  in  repelling  the  raid  of  the  English  admiral, 
Richard  Hawkins,  were  introduced  into  the  poem  through 
the  agency  of  the  witch,  Quidora,  and  the  machinery  of  a 
dream.  Though  the  love  affairs  of  the  Indians  were 
fictions  of  the  poet  who  invented  them  to  relieve  the 
strain  of  continuous  warfare,  the  descriptions  of  their 
customs  and  those  of  the  colonists  have  historical  value. 
The  poetic  idyll  of  Caupolican  and  Fresia  'and  the  ad- 
ventures of  Tucapel  and  Gualeva  are  interesting.  Re- 
garding the  author  the  poem  reveals  little  but  his  serious 
and  religious  disposition. 

Pedro  de  Ona  remained  to  the  end  of  his  days  a  diligent 
versifier.  There  exist  from  his  pen  a  couple  of  sonnets; 
a  cancion  of  some  length  in  which  the  river  Lima  addresses 
the  river  Tiber  on  the  virtues  of  Fray  Francisco  Solano 


of  Lima  who  after  his  canonization  was  made  patron 
saint  of  Santiago  de  Chile  in  1633;  a  second  herioc  poem, 
El  Vasauroy  found  in  manuscript  in  Madrid  by  Barros 
Arana,  on  the  deeds  of  Don  Andres  de  Cabrera;  and  a  mysti- 
cal religious  poem  in  six  thousand  verses  divided  in  twelve 
books  on  the  life  of  Ignatius  de  Loyola,  El  Ignacio  de 
Loyola,  Apparently  the  Jesuits  requested  Ofia  to  compose 
this  poem  in  honor  of  the  founder  of  their  society.  No 
commission  could  have  been  more  agreeable  to  the  pious 
character  of  the  poet  as  is  partly  shown  by  the  care  which 
he  bestowed  on  the  versification  and  the  ornate  rhetoric. 
Printed  in  Seville,  1636,  the  poem  contributed  to  the 
author's  reputation  far  more  than  the  Arauco  Domado. 
Lope  de  Vega  in  his  Laurel  de  Apolo  referring  to  this  poem 
puts  the  serious  lyre  of  Pedro  de  Ofia  "alone  among  the 
swans  of  the  Indies."  Posterity  may  well  consider  Pedro 
de  Ofia  as  the  foremost  poet  in  Chile  during  colonial 

Another  poem  produced  under  the  stimulus  of  the 
prevailing  fashion  for  heroic  poems  was  found  by  Barros 
Arana  in  Madrid  without  title  and  name  of  author.  The 
learned  historian  of  the  colonial  literary  history  of  Chile, 
Jose  Toribio  Medina,  argues  that  the  author  was  an 
unknown  Juan  de  Mendoza  mentioned  by  Alvarez  de 
Toledo.  The  poem  after  giving  a  summary  of  Chilean 
history  relates  many  minor  events  which  occurred  at  the 
end  of  the  sixteenth  century.  Though  the  reader's  interest 
is  rather  harassed  by  the  multiplicity  of  unconnected 
happenings,  the  central  fact  of  the  tcoubled-stat^  of  the 
Spanish  settlements  stands  out  clearly. 
\/  Hernando   Alvarez    de   Toledo   was    another   Spanish 


warrior  and  colonist  who  pleased  himself  by  the  versifi- 
cation of  his  personal  adventures.  He  left  Spain  in  158 1 
in  company  with  the  famous  governor  Alonso  de  Soto- 
mayor,  who  after  an  unlucky  voyage,  landed  in  Brazil 
and  reached  Chile  by  crossing  the  Argentine  pampa 
and  the  Andes.  The  fifteen  thousand  verses  of  Alvarez' 
Puren  Indbmito  composed  entirely  without  poetical  in- 
ventions or  fictions  form  a  rhymed  chronicle  of  his  own 
feats  of  arms  or  those  which  he  had  heard  in  detail  from 
his  companions.  To  him  the  Indians  are  merely  wily 
and  treacherous  enemies.  Yet  he  gives  many  details 
about  their  habits,  dress,  adornments,  ceremonies,  method 
of  fighting  and  the  relations  between  them  and  the  Span- 
iards. At  times  he  puts  into  the  mouths  of  the  natives 
words  about  truth  and  the  nature  of  God  which  are  a 
satire  on  the  actions  of  bad  Spaniai^ds.  So  great  is  his 
adherence  to  fact  that  his  statements  are  given  full  his- 
torical value  by  the  historian  Ovalle.  The  latter  credits  a 
portion  of  his  history  to  the  Jraucana,  another  poem  by 
Alvarez  which  has  been  lost. 
\y^  Personal  adventures  formed  the  substance  of  another 
long  poem  printed  at  Lima,  1630,  entitled  Compendio 
historialde  Chile  by  Melchor  Xufre  del  Aguila  (i 568-1637). 
The  author  boasted  that  he  had  come  out  at  his  own  ex- 
pense. In  the  same  year,  1 581,  in  which  Don  Garcia  Hur- 
tado  de  Mendoza  was  made  viceroy  of  Peru,  Xufre  went 
to  Chile  to  seek  adventures  in  the  war.  He  got  nothing 
but  a  broken  leg  and  loss  of  property.  So  he  determined 
to  retire  to  a  life  of  leisure  in  the  country  and  write  an 
account  of  his  experiences.  His  book  has  lent  to  it  some 
historical  value  by  a  long  letter  preceding  the  poem  by 


way  of  introduction  from  Luis  Merlo  de  la  Fuente,  cap- 
tain general  of  Chile,  who  outlines  the  events  of  his  ad- 
ministration from   1606  to   1628. 

In  prose,  if  one  omits  works  written  with  a  serious 
purpose,  few  attempts  at  literature  are  to  be  found.  Of 
w  these  few  one,  Cautiverio  feliz,  by  Francisco  Nunez  de 
Pineda  y  Bascufian  (1607-82),  was  the  most  popular  and 
widely  read  book  of  colonial  times  in  Chile.  The  author, 
the  son  of  a  soldier  much  feared  by  the  Araucanians,  was 
placed  by  his  father  in  a  company  of  Spanish  infantry 
which  was  called  in  1629  to  put  down  an  outbreak  of  the 
Indians  in  southern  Chile.  The  young  man  was  one  of 
a  detachment  attacked  by  overwhelming  numbers  and 
was  taken  prisoner  with  the  few  survivors.  When  the 
Indians  learned  his  parentage,  they  were  greatly  delighted 
by  their  capture.  Their  leader  Maulican  determined  to 
keep  him  alive  though  the  other  leaders  wished  to  put  him 
to  death  by  torture.  Bascufian  remained  in  captivity 
seven  months  before  he  was  ransomed.  In  his  old  age  he 
wrote  the  story  of  it,  leaving  the  manuscript  to  his  chil- 
dren. Though  the  narrative  was  intended  for  history,  it 
was  written  almost  in  the  style  of  a  novel.  The  reader  is 
kept  in  dramatic  suspense  to  the  end  wondering  whether 
the  good  intentions  of  Maulican  will  prevail  against  the 
desires  of  those  who  seek  the  captive's  death.  The  book, 
moreover,  is  a  mine  of  curious  facts  about  the  Indians. 

The  romantic  interest  felt  by  some  toward  the  natives 
appears  in  a  strange  book,  Restauracion  de  la  Imperial  y 
conversion  de  almas  infielesy  by  Fray  Juan  ~de_Ba.rreiaechea 
y  Albis,  written  in  1693.  Medina  classifies  it  as  a  novel. 
It  is  a  fiction  concerning  Rocamila,  the  beautiful  daughter 



of  the  Araucanian  chief  Millayan.  Of  her  many  lovers 
the  most  favored  was  Carilab.  Their  wedding,  however, 
is  postponed  and  their  relations  greatly  troubled  by  the 
war  with  the  Spaniards  and  the  multiplicity  of  adventures 
which  happen  to  them.  The  good  friars  and  their  efforts 
to  Christianize  the  Indians  claim  a  part  of  the  nar- 

The  habit  of  versifying  history  into  which  was  incor- 
porated one's  personal  adventures,  possibly  encouraged 
by  the  popularity  of  Ercilla's  poem,  became  widespread 
in  other  centers  of  Spanish  settlement  than  Chile.  Most 
of  these  compositions  have  been  held  in  light  esteem,  on 
the  one  hand  by  historians  as  untrustworthy  and  on  the 
other  by  writers  on  literature  as  prosaic.  Apparently 
the  more  prosaic  the  versification  the  more  accurate  was 
the  narration.  In  this  respect  the  extreme  is  represented 
by  Caspar  de  Villagra*s  Conquista  del  Nuevo  Mundoy  pub- 
lished in  1610,  a  rhymed  chronicle  of  the  attempt  by 
Juan  de  Onate  to  settle  in  the  country  now  called  New 
Mexico  about  the  year  1598.  Whatever  the  opinion  else- 
where, natives  of  the  respective  countries  in  which  the 
scenes  of  these  historical  poems  were  laid  have  regarded 
them  highly.  To  the  local  poet  they  have  proved  a  con- 
stant source  of  inspiration.  To  the  local  historian  they 
have  supplied  invaluable  details  of  genealogy  and  local 
v^  J\ian_^e_Castellanos  for  this  purpose  contributed  the 
most  important  document  of  all.  His  Elegias  de  Varones 
ilustres  de  Indias  consisting  of  some  150,000  lines  is  the 
longest  poem  of  its  kind  in  any  language.  The  first  part 
only  was  printed  during  the  life  of  its  author,  but  the 



remainder  appears  to  have  been  known  though  not  printed 
complete  till  the  nineteenth  century.  Part  one,  published 
in  1589,  dealt  with  the  voyages  of  Columbus  and  the  early 
conquests  and  settlements  of  the  Caribbean  islands  and 
the  region  near  the  mouth  of  the  Orinoco,  as  well  as  the 
adventures  of  the  infamous  Lope  de  Aguirre.  The  author 
had  already  written  part  of  his  chronicle  when  a  friend 
persuaded  him  to  rival  Ercilla  by  versifying  it.  The 
judgment  of  posterity  believes  he  might  better  have  stuck 
to  prose.  Nevertheless  Juan  de  Castellanos  possessed 
such  an  astonishing  ability  in  versification  that  he  wrote 
occasional  passages  of  real  merit,  so  that  from  the  point 
of  view  of  poetry  his  poem  may  be  given  second  place 
among  versified  chronicles.  The  second,  third  and  fourth 
parts  treat  minutely  the  history  of  Nueva  Granada  and  a 
part  of  Venezuela,  with  less  attempt  at  poetic  embellish- 
ment as  they  approach  the  end. 

Inferior  in  poetic  qualities  but  priceless  for  its  informa- 
tion because  no  other  records  of  the  events  of  which  it 
treats  has  come  down  to  us  is  La  Argentina  y  conquista 
del  Rio  de  la  Plata,  con  otros  acaecimientos  de  las  reinos  del 
Peru,  Tucumdn  y  estado  del  Brasil,  published  at  Lisbon, 
1602,  by  Don_Martin  del  Jarco  Centener^  The  author 
was  a  soldier  who  took  part  in  the  expedition  led  by 
Juan  Ortiz  de  Zarate  into  the  interior  of  the  Argentine. 
The  poem  is  also  valuable  for  biographical  matter  con- 
cerning Juan  de  Garay,  the  founder  of  Buenos  Aires.  As 
its  title  indicates  the  poem  lacks  unity  of  subject-matter 
and  it  is  overloaded  with  fairy  tales  of  golden  kingdoms 
and  marvelous  voyages.  Redolent  of  the  pampa,  however, 
are  his  descriptions  of  the  life  of  the  savages,  their  method 


of  hunting  the  wild  ostrich  with  bolas,  and  the  anecdotes 
of  their  relations  to  each  other  and  to  the  Spanish  settlers. 
Some  of  his  love  stories  and  episodes  furnished  excellent 
material  to  later  poets. 

In  Mexico  the  deeds  of  Cortes  found  their  epic  poet  in 

\  Antonio_de  Saas^dra^Guzn^  who  published  his  Peregrino 
Indiano  in  twenty  cantos  of  octaves  in  1599.  The  author 
says  of  himself  that  he  was  corregidor  of  Zacatecas  and 
that  he  spent  seven  years  in  collecting  his  material  for 
a  true  history.  As  to  his  value  the  historian  Prescott, 
who  took  a  few  details  from  his  descriptions,  estimated 
it  in  this  wise,  "Saavedra  came  on  the  stage  before  all 
that  had  borne  arms  in  the  conquest  had  left  it."  While 
Saavedra's  story  is  mainly  an  account  of  military  exploits 
from  the  moment  of  Cortes'  departure  from  Cuba  to  the 
capture  of  the  city  of  Mexico  after  the  building  of  the 
ships  in  the  lake,  he  does  not  neglect  the  amours  of  the 
leaders  with  the  native  women.  The  book  has  the  addi- 
tional bibliographical  interest  of  being  the  first  printed 
by  a  person  born  in  Mexico. 

Saavedra's  poem  was  neither  the  first  nor  the  last  on 
the   same   subject.      Contemporaries   praised   highly  the 

><^lost  work  of  ..Franri^co_dejre]Tgzag,  whose  sonnets  show 
real  poetical  feeling.  The  son  of  one  of  Cortes'  most 
trusted  officers,  he  is  the  first  native-bom  Mexican  poet. 
A  few  octaves  that  have  been  preserved  of  his  Nuevo 
Mundo  y  Conquista  show  that  Terrazas  was  especially 
skillful  in  depicting  idyllic  love  scenes.  Another  rhymed 
chronicle,  the  Mexico  conquistada  of  Juan  de  Escoiquiz 
has  been  dismissed  by  an  eminent  critic  as  "intolerable." 
On  the  other  hand,  the  versification  of  Gabriel  Lasso  de      \. 


la^Vega's  Cortes  Valeroso,  published  in  1588  with  three 
additional  cantos  in  1594,  is  praised.  And  even  better 
from  the  same  point  of  view  is  the  Hernandia  of  Francisco 
X  Ruiz  de  Lgdn  though  the  matter  of  the  poem  printed  in 
1755  is  little  more  than  the  versification  of  Antonio  de 
Solis'  famous  history  of  the  conquest  of  Mexico. 

In  Peru,  contemporary  with  the  rich  historical  litera- 
ture dealing  with  the  conquest,  were  written  many  short 
poems  on  various  events.  Pizarro*s  exploits  were  related 
in  a  poem  of  eight  cantos  which,  however,  was  not  printed 
before  1848.  In  that  year  a  bookseller  of  Lyons  discovered 
the  manuscript  in  the  library  of  Vienna.  Another  longer 
manuscript  poem  in  twenty  cantos  has  for  a  title  Armas 
Antdrticas,  hechos  de  los  famosos  Capitanes  espanoles  que 
se  hallaron  en  la  conquista  del  Peru.  Judging  from  such 
extracts  as  he  had  seen  the  Spanish  critic  Menendez  y 
Pelayo  rated  its  poetic  qualities  higher  than  those  of  the 
more  fortunate  Lima  Fundada  0  Conquista  del  Peru  printed 
in  1732  for  its  author  Pedro  de  Peralta  Bamuevo,  the  poet 
laureate  of  the  viceroys  of  his  day. 

These  historical  or  heroic  compositions  on  American 
topics,  so  ambitiously  termed  epic  poems  by  their  authors, 
form  only  a  branch  of  the  same  tree  which  was  flourishing 
so  lustily  in  Spain  at  the  same  period.  An  occasional 
poem  treating  an  event  in  Spanish  history  even  saw  the 
light  in  America.  Another  thriving  branch  was  the 
sacred  epic  ramifying  into  poems  on  the  lives  of  saints 
and  noted  churchmen.  Of  the  many  poems  in  Spanish 
on  the  life  of  the  Saviour  the  most  excellent  in  all  respects 
X  was  La  Cristiada  published  in  161 1  bv_Frav  Diego  de 
XH)Djedajwho  wrote  its  eloquent  octaves  in  a  convent  of 


Lima.  And  in  this  outpouring  of  heroic  verse  what  was 
more  natural  than  that  many  a  friar  in  America  should 
desire  thus  to  glorify  the  life  of  the  founder  of  his  order? 
Poems  in  many  cantos  on  the  life  of  Ignatius  de  Loyola, 
founder  of  the  Jesuits,  are  especially  numerous.  Earlier 
than  that  by  Pedro  de  Ona,  already  mentioned,  was  one 
by  a  friend  of  his,  JLuis  de  Bejmonte^  Vida  del  Patriarca  w 
Ignacio  de  Loyola,  published  in  Mexico  in  1609  and  dedi- 
cated to  the  Jesuit  fathers  of  Nueva  Espafia.  The  Domin- 
icans, not  to  be  outdone  by  others,  wrote  in  heroic  verses 
the  life  of  their  celebrity,  the  Angelical  Doctor,  Thomas 
Aquinas.  As  if  symbolic  of  his  great  learning  the  most 
peculiar  of  these  poems  entitled  La  Thomasiada,  was 
composed  by  fray_piego  Saenz  Ovecurri  and  published  \; 
in  Guatemala,  1667.  The  poem  aimed  to  be  not  only  a 
biography  but  also  a  treatise  on  the  art  of  poetry  and  a 
sort  of  encyclopedia  in  rhyme  of  matter  taken  from  the 
works  of  the  learned  doctor.  In  the  part  relating  to  the 
art  of  poetry,  examples  of  the  most  extravagant  experi- 
ments in  versification  abound. 

Of  the  lives  of  saints  in  heroic  verse,  two  especially 
achieved  a  certain  reputation.  The  Gongorist  title.  La 
eloquencia  del  silencio.  Poema  heroyco,  vida  y  martyrio 
del  Gran  Proto-Martyr  del  sacramental  sigilo,  fidelissimo 
custodio  de  la  Fama,  y  protector  de  la  Sagrada  Compania 
de  Jesus,  San  Juan  Nepomuceno,  is  indicative  of  the  style 
of  the  contents  of  this  poem  by  a  Mexican  jurist  Miguel 
de  Reyna  Zevallos,  published  in  1738.  The  other  is  far 
more  interesting,  Fida  de  Santa  Rosa  de  Lima  y  Patrona 
del  Peru  by'g  Antnnin  Hp  Ovifidp  y  Hprrpra,  Conde  de  XL 
la  Granja,  published  in  171 1.     It  is  interesting  not  only 


because  it  relates  the  life  of  the  most  popular  saint  of 
America,  Santa  Rosa  de  Lima  (as  a  measure  of  her  popu- 
larity may  be  taken  a  certain  bibliographical  list  of  276 
works  referring  to  her),  but  also  because  it  contains  enter- 
taining descriptions  of  the  country  near  Lima,  of  the 
raids  of  Drake  and  Hawkins  on  the  Peruvian  coast,  and 
many  other  curious  anecdotes  of  the  life  of  the  colony. 

In  the  matter  of  lyric  verse  there  were  numerous  prac- 
titioners of  it  at  all  periods  in  America.  Students  of 
Spanish  literature  will  remember  that  following  the 
manner  of  the  poet-soldiers  who  brought  back  to  Spain 
from  Italy  the  new  forms  there  arose  in  Seville  a  school  of 
versifiers.    A  leading  member  of  the  school,  Gutierre  de 

y_  Cetina,  found  his  way  to  Mexico  where  in  1554  he  was 
severely  wounded  by  a  jealous  lover  who  mistook  him  in 
the  dark  for  the  object  of  his  suspicions,  a  wound  from 
which  the  unlucky  poet  probably  died  three  years  later. 
Another  Sevillan  poet  who  spent  some  time  in  Mexico  was 

y  Jjuan_d£_la^Cueva^  Among  his  literary  remains  exists  an 
interesting  description  in  tercets  of  the  city  of  Mexico.  So 
numerous  in  fact  were  poets  among  the  adventurers  in 
Mexico  that  at  a  poetical  contest  in  1585  no  fewer  than 
three  hundred  (?)  took  part  according  to  the  testimony  of 
one  of  the  winners. 

"Til? latter  was  Bernardo  de  Balbuena  (1^:68-1627)  who 
in  later  life  became  Bishop  of  Puerto  Rico.  And  for  the 
feeling  which  his  works  show  for  the  tropical  luxuriance 
of  America  he  may  be  termed  the  first  in  point  of  time  of 
American  poets.  Balbuena's  most  important  poem,  La 
Grandeza  Mexicanay  originally  printed  in  Mexico  in  1604, 
and  many  times  reprinted,  even  in  the  nineteenth  cen- 


tury,  sets  forth  the  beauties  and  wonders  of  Mexico,  its 
wealth  in  precious  metals  and  jewels,  the  strange  costume 
of  its  inhabitants,  its  fiery  horses,  the  rich  fabrics  brought 
thither  in  transit  from  China  and  the  Philippine  Islands. 
The  poem  is  written  in  tercets  and  divided  into  nine  parts. 
In  1608  he  published  El  Sigh  de  Oro  en  las  Selvas  de 
ErifiUy  a.  pastoral  novel  in  prose  and  verse,  the  latter 
consisting  of  twelve  eclogues  in  imitation  of  Theocritus, 
Virgil,  and  Sannazaro.  For  its  value  as  a  monument  of 
Spanish  literature  the  Spanish  Academy  made  a  special 
edition  of  it  in  1821.  No  less  ambitious  was  Balbuena  in 
vying  with  Ariosto  in  his  longest  poem  El  Bernardo  0  la 
Victoria  de  Roncesvalles  in  twenty-four  cantos.  In  one  of 
them  the  hero  is  conveyed  to  Mexico  where  the  Tlascalan 
wizard  reveals  to  him  the  future  conquest  of  Mexico. 

Of  Spanish  versifiers  who  visited  Lima  about  the  be- 
ginning of  the  seventeenth  century  the  names  of  those 
known  to  Cervantes  and  Lope  de  Vega  are  very  numerous. 
In  real  poetic  worth  a  certain  anonymous  poetess  who 
corresponded  in  rhymed  epistles  with  Lope  de  Vega,  sign- 
ing herself  "  Amarilis,"  excelled  the  rest.  And  no  specula- 
tion as  to  the  identity  of  the  lady  has  proved  successful. 
At  the  court  of  the  viceroys  who  were  themselves  of  the 
highest  Spanish  Ifobllity  were  many  individuals  of  noble 
rank.  And  the  customs  of  their  gay  society  demanded 
much  scribbling  of  verse's  as  well  as  dramatic  representa- 
tions. The  Prince  of_Esquilache>  viceroy  from  161 5  to  x 
1622,  himself  possesses  a  place  in  Spanish  literature  as  a 
poet  of  the  second  rank,  author  of  epistles  and  sonnets  in 
the  manner  of  Argensola  and  of  an  epic  poem  Ndpoles 
recuperada.     His  own  works  contain  no  references  to  his 


sojourn  in  the  new  world,  but  it  is  known  that  he  main- 
tained a  sort  of  literary  academy  in  his  residence. 

Of  books  of  verse  produced  during  colonial  times  a  few 
deserve  mention.  The  Primera  parte  del  Parnaso  Antdrtico 
de  obras  amatorias  by  Diego  Mexia  was  printed  in  1608. 
The  title  refers  to  a  very  praiseworthy  translation  of  Ovid's 
Heroides  which  the  author,  as  he  himself  relates,  made  in  a 
long  journey  from  Lima  to  Mexico.  The  prologue  to  his 
book  is  interesting  for  the  references  to  his  journey. 

The  Miscelanea  austral  printed  in  Lima  in  1603,  though 
primarily  a  series  of  forty-four  colloquies  by  its  author, 
o  2iego^e^A^valosxEigHSI!95>  ^^  ^11  sorts  of  subjects  of  most 
diverse  character,  love,  jealousy,  music,  horses,  the  origin 
of  rings,  contains  many  verses  by  others  as  well  as  a  long 
poem  in  six  cantos.  La  Defensa  de  DamaSy  in  which  Diego 
de  Avalos  attempts  to  refute  by  anecdotes  those  who 
write  ill  of  ladies. 

A  sort  of  anthology  Ramillete  de  varias  flores  poeticas 
-^  recogidas  by  ]^q\ntci  de  Evja^  a  native  of  Guayaquil,  offers 
an  idea  of  the  state  of  poesy  in  1675.  At  that  date  Gon- 
gorism  was  the  fashion  in  Spain  and  Evia's  Sevillan  master 
of  rhetoric,  Antonio  Bastidas,  whose  own  poems  are  really 
the  best  in  the  book,  had  taught  him  the  secret  of  pre- 
ciosity. The  third  poet  whose  lines  appear  here  was  a 
^  native  of  Bogota,  Hemanjo  Dominguez  Camargo.  As  a 
sample  of  his  conceits  may  be  taken  some  verses  in  which 
he  compares  the  water  of  a  certain  cascade  to  a  bull  or  to 
a  stallion  about  to  be  dashed  to  pieces  against  the  rocks. 
Dominguez  Camargo  was  the  author  also  of  a  Gongorist 
poem  on  the  life  of  Ignatius  of  Loyola.  The  Ramillete 
is  a  curious  book  whose  verses  of  occasion,  sonnets  and 


inscriptions,  and  extracts  in  artificial  prose  convey  a  lively 
idea  of  life  in  Ecuador. 

Books  of  verse  very  popular  in  Lima,  if  one  can  judge 
by  the  number  of  manuscript  copies  which  seem  to  have 
existed,  were  the  Diente  del  Parnaso  and  Poesias  varias  of 
Juan  del  Valle  y  Caviedes,  Their  interest  lay  in  the 
sparkling  Andalusian  wit  of  the  author's  lines.  He  was 
born  the  son  of  a  Spanish  merchant  and  had  been  sent  at 
about  the  age  of  twenty  to  Spain  where  he  remained  three 
years.  On  his  return  to  Lima  about  1681  he  fell  sick  as  the 
result  of  dissipation.  He  whiled  away  his  convalescence 
by  writing  satiric  verses  on  his  doctors  whom  he  lampooned 
by  name.  His  verses  circulated  in  manuscript  and  were 
undoubtedly  increased  in  number  by  other  wits  who  put 
their  smart  and  possibly  obscene  productions  under  his 
name.  It  is  noteworthy  that  at  such  an  early  period  the 
characteristic  of  later  Peruvian  literature,  its  gayety  and 
humor,  thus  made  its  appearance. 

At  the  close  of  the  seventeenth  and  the  opening  of  the 
next  century  there  were  born  in  Peru  several  men  of  re- 
markable mental  equipment  who  deserved  to  have  fallen 
on  an  epoch  more  propitious  in  inspiration.  By  that  date 
the  ravages  of  Gongorism  were  at  their  height  in  Spanish 
literature  and  precisely  by  a  defense  of  Gongora,  Apol- 
ogetico  en  favor  de  D.  Luis  de  Gongora,  published  in  1694  has 
the  learned  doctor  Ju3ii_.ii£_JEspinosa_^ledrano  distin-  y 
guished  himself.  The  book  is  a  creditable  piece  of  literary 
criticism  and  gives  evidence  of  the  ability  of  a  man  who  at 
fourteen  years  of  age  composed  autos  and  comedies  and  at 
sixteen  filled  a  professorial  chair  in  the  university  of  Cuzco 
where  he  taught  all  his  life,  beside  being  connected  with 


the  cathedral  in  various  capacities.  He  left  behind  also 
volumes  of  sermons  and  theological  works.  A  poem  of  his 
El  Aprendiz  de  Rico  which  draws  a  moral  from  the  con- 
demnation and  death  of  a  silver  miner  for  counterfeiting 
coin  throws  an  interesting  light  on  a  phase  of  existence 
in  that  ancient  capital  of  the  Incas. 

The  doctor  of  Cuzco  was  not,  however,  such  a  marvel 
of  encyclopedic  knowledge  and  literary  accomplishment  as 
P^drnjje  Peralfa  BarnuevoJg^ochR  y  Renayides.  Of  his 
heroic  poem  Lima  Fundada  mention  has  already  been 
made.  He  was  by  profession  professor  of  mathematics  in 
the  university  of  Lima  and  made  some  astronomical 
observations  on  eclipses  the  results  of  which  he  published. 
In  fact  his  works,  including  his  scientific  essays  on  military 
and  civil  engineering,  on  metallurgy,  on  navigation,  on 
history,  number  no  less  than  forty-eight  between  1700  and 
1740.  Beside  being  several  times  rector  of  the  university 
he  was  the  poet  laureate  of  the  viceroy.  For  that  reason 
his  name  appears  on  the  many  volumes  of  verses  which 
record  the  feasts  and  funerals  of  the  period.  ~  He  wrote 
likewise  several  pieces  for  the  stage  beside  a  meritorious 
adaptation  of  Corneille's  Rodogune.  His  contemporary 
the  Spaniard  P.  Feijoo  reckoned  him  the  equal  of  the  most 
erudite  men  of  Europe. 

The  custom  of  celebrating  public  events  by  issuing 
volumes  of  bombastic  and  laudatory  verses  was  not  con- 
fined to  Peru  but  was  practiced  in  Mexico  too.  And  in 
general  the  bulk  of  Mexican  verse  is  not  only  greater  but 
on  account  of  a  few  artificers  it  ranks  better  in  quality.  A 
stimulus  to  such  abundant  production  was  the  custom  of 
poetic  contests. 


One  of  the  best  poems  of  the  seventeenth  century  was  so 
much  admired  that  numberless  imitations  and  glosses  of  it 
were  written  and  it  is  to-day  pleasant  reading,  Cancion  a  la 
Vista  de  un  Desengaiioy  by  a  Jesnjr  Father  Mafias  dp 
Bocanegra.  It  is  divided  into  six  parts  on  the  following 
theme:  A  young  monk  is  listening  to  the  song  of  a  linnet. 
The  bird  would  not  sing  in  a  cage  he  is  sure.  Just  so  the 
loss  of  his  liberty  irks  him  and  he  complains.  He  decides 
to  break  his  vows  and  enter  the  world.  Before  he  can 
carry  out  his  determination  he  is  confounded  to  see  a 
falcon  seize  and  rend  the  linnet.  The  thought  comes  to 
him  that  if  the  weaker  bird  had  been  protected  by  a  cage 
it  would  not  have  suffered  death.  It  died  because  it  was 
free.  The  moral  of  this  lesson  prevents  the  young  monk 
from  breaking  his  vows. 

One  wishes  that  more  of  the  verse  by  friars  had  been 
written  with  such  poetic  simplicity  of  expression  rather 
than  in  the  tedious  conceits  of  such  poems  on  set  religious 
topics  as  appear  in  the  book  entitled  Triumpho  parthenico 
que  en  glorias  de  Maria  Santissima  inmaculadamente 
concebida  celehro  la  Pontifical  Imperial^  y  Regia  Academia 
Mexicana  etc.  .  .  .  Describelo  D.  Carlos  de  Siguenza  y 
Gongora^  Mexicano,  y  en  ella  cathedrdtico  propietario  de 
Mathemdticas.  En  Mexico  i68j.  The  professor  in  his 
poetic  style,  even  in  his  earlier  poem  published  in  1668, 
Primavera  Indiana,  Poema  sacro-historico,  idea  de  Maria 
Santissima  de  Guadalupe,  lived  up  to  the  tradition  of  his 
maternal  name  of  Gongora.  This  poem  narrated  in 
seventy-nine  royal  octaves  the  story  of  the  appearance  to 
the  baptized  Indian  Juan  Diego  of  our  Lady  of  Guada- 
lupe.   Since  the  building  of  the  church  on  the  spot  desig- 


nated  by  her  radiant  apparition,  the  native  religion  ma- 
terially declined.  The  present  rich  edifice  dedicated  to 
the  patron  saint  of  Mexico  was  built  during  the  lifetime 
of  Sigiienza  y  Gongora  (i  645-1 700).  As  a  cyclopedic 
scholar  he  was  only  equalled  in  America  by  the  Peruvian 
doctor  Peralta  de  Bamuevo.  Sigiienza  made  many 
scientific  and  archaeological  studies.  Useful  is  his  study 
of  the  Aztec  calendar  which  he  investigated  for  the  pur- 
pose of  establishing  the  chronology  of  that  people.  From 
his  pen  came  numerous  works  on  mathematics  and  as- 
tronomy which  must  be  respected  for  their  learning  though 
they  bear  such  titles  as  a  certain  Belerofonte  matemdtico 
contra  la  Quimera  astrologica. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century  a  real  poetic 
genius  saw  the  light  in  Mexico.  Being  a  woman  and  a 
poetess  she  was  styled  in  accord  with  the  bombast  of 
the  time  "la  Musa  Decima  mexicana,"  that  is  to  say 
"the  Tenth  Muse  a  Mexican  woman."  She  was  born 
Ju^na  Inesje  Asbaje  y  Ramjrez^de  Cantillana  (1651-9^ . 
At  seventeen  years  of  age  she  became~^ir~nun,  assuming 
the  name  Sor  Juana  Ines  je  la  Cruz,  by  which  title  she 
has  since  been  known.  She  was  possessed  of  the  most 
intense  intellectual  curiosity.  At  one  time  she  had  gath- 
ered in  her  cell  a  library  of  no  less  than  four  thousand 
volumes.  Her  fame  in  wojrldly  learning  and  in  profane 
literature  causing  the  Bishop  of  Puebla  some  worry,  he 
wrote  her  a  letter  over  the  signature  of  "  Sor  Philotea  de 
la  Cruz"  beseeching  her  as  an  admiring  sister  to  have  a 
care  for  her  soul.  She  replied  in  a  letter  which  the  bishop 
had  printed  with  the  title  of  Carta  athenogorica. 

Its  theme  was  a  defense  of  the  education  of  women, 


but  its  interest  to  the  world  now  consists  in  the  bio- 
graphical details  concerning  the  writer.  Very  little  else 
is  known.  She  learned  to  read  at  the  age  of  three.  At 
eight  she  composed  a  loa  in  honor  of  the  holy  sacrament. 
At  about  the  same  time  she  begged  her  parents  to  send 
her  up  to  the  University  of  Mexico  dressed  as  a  man. 
However  she  had  to  content  herself  with  twenty  lessons 
in  Latin  in  which  language  she  acquired  proficiency  by 
her  own  unaided  efforts.  Becoming  a  maid  of  honor  to 
the  vicereine  of  Mexico,  she  was  "tormented  for  her 
wit  and  pursued  for  her  beauty,"  until  she  took  the  veil 
in  the  convent  of  San  Geronimo.  From  that  moment 
her  cell  was  her  study.  A  certain  superior  at  one  time 
forbade  her  to  use  her  books.  She  obeyed  for  three  months 
but  though  she  neglected  her  books  she  "studied  all  the 
things  which  God  created."  Though  in  her  reply  to  the 
admonition  of  Sor  Philotea,  she  defended  her  course  of 
life,  yet  she  was  moved  to  sell  her  books  and  devote  her 
mind  to  acts  of  piety.  Shortly  thereafter  she  died  a 
victim  of  an  epidemic. 

Her  collected  literary  works  fill  three  volumes.  The 
first  was  printed  in  1698  with  the  florid  title  Inundacibn 
Castdlida  de  la  unica  poetisa,  musa  decimal  sor  Juana  Ines 
de  la  Cruz,  The  third  volume  published  after  her  death 
was  entitled  Fama  y  Ohras  postumas  del  Fenix  de  Mexico, 
decima  musa,  poetisa  americana,  sor  Juana  Ines  dda  Cruz, 
Some  of  her  productions  were  printed  separately,  as  the 
verses  indited  in  celebration  of  the  arrival  of  the  Conde 
de  Pa  redes  as  viceroy,  and  called  Neptuno  alegorico, 
oceano  de  colores,  simulacro  politico,  Sor  Juana  wrote  not 
only  verses  but  plays.     For  the  Condesa  de  ares  Fed  she 


composed  an  Auto  sacramental  del  Divino  Narciso,  por 
alegorias.  Like  their  titles  these  compositions  are  Gon- 
goristic.  In  fact  her  contemporaries  praised  her  most 
lighly  for  her  most  obscure  compositions.  On  the  other 
hand,  she  wrote  many  poems  instinct  with  sincere  feeling 
and  unclouded  by  the  pedantic  taste  of  the  epoch.  Her 
lyrics  suggest  that  her  passionate  temper  was  not  always 
stirred  solely  by  mystical  love  nor  by  feigned  jealousy. 
Those  verses  of  hers  which  have  been  best  remembered 
were  satirically  directed  against  the  detractors  of  women, 
foolish  men  who  are  to  blame  for  the  very  faults  in  women 
that  they  censure.  As  for  her  rank  in  the  world  of  letters, 
after  the  Cuban  Gertrudis  Gomez  de  Avellaneda,  the 
second  place  among  women  of  American  birth  who  have 
written  in  Spanish  may  be  rightfully  accorded  to  Sor 
Juana  Ines  de  la  Cxxxl^ 

Her  death  was  followed  by  the  literary  sterility  of  the 
eighteenth  century.  The  only  Mexican  writer  of  Cas- 
tilian  worthy  of  mention  in  this  period  was  Francisco 
^  Ruiz  de  Leon  whose  Hernandia  was  a  last  effort  to  write 
epic  poetry  on  the  subject  of  the  conquest  of  Mexico.  He 
was  the  author  of  a  devout  poem  in  three  hundred  and 
thirty-three  decimas  with  the  alluring  title  Mirra  duke 
para  aliento  de  pecadores.  The  mainstay  of  literature, 
the  friars  began  to  neglect  the  vernacular  for  Latin.  Of 
these  Latinists  there  is  a  formidable  list.  A  certain 
Jesuit  father  Rafael  Landivar  is  the  only  one  sufficiently 
original  to  have  left  behind  any  literary  influence.  A 
long  poem  in  fifteen  books,  Rusticatio  mexicana,  in  the 
style  of  the  Georgics  of  Virgil,  set  forth  the  natural  beau- 
ties and  wonders  of  America.    Descriptive  poetry  of  this 


sort,  beginning  with  Balbuena^s  Grandeza  mexicana,  has 
a  long  history  in  America.  Parts  of  Landivar's  poem 
were  not  only  translated  by  some  into  Spanish  but  were 
imitated  by  others. 

Ruiz  de  Leon's  Mirra  duke  by  some  peculiar  chance 
happened  to  be  one  of  the  first  books  of  verse  printed  in 
Bogota.  Colombia  was  not  an  especially  fertile  field  for 
the  cultivation  of  letters.  Contemporary  with  Sor  Juana 
and  inditing  verses  to  her  was  a  certain  Francisco  Alvarez 
de  Velasco  y  Zorrilla.  And  in  prose  there  exist  two  books 
which  the  Colombians  are  proud  to  exhibit  as  productions 
of  their  early  literary  history,  Sentimientos  Espirituales 
by  a  nun  Francisca  Josefa  de  la  Concepcion,  known  also 
as  the  Madre^£astillo  and  an  autobiography,  Vida  de  la 
venerable  Madre  Castillo. 

In  the  neighboring  territory  of  Ecuador  poetic  and 
literary  activity  seems  to  have  been  a  little  greater.  A 
Jesuit  father,  Juan_deJVelasco,  himself  the  author  of  an 
interesting  Historia  del  reino  de  Quito,  preserved  the 
verses  of  his  contemporaries  which  he  prepared  for  the 
press  in  a  miscellany  in  six  volumes,  entitled  El  Ocioso  de 
Faenza.  The  best  of  these  poems  show  a  real  feeling  for 

One  activity  of  the  friars  should  by  no  means  be  over- 
looked. They  interested  themselves  keenly  in  the  native 
languages  for  the  purpose  of  teaching  the  aborigines  the 
gospel  of  Christ.  Grammars  and  dictionaries,  catechisms 
and  books  of  devotion  in  the  native  tongues  abound. 
And  stranger  still  there  exist  plays,  many  of  religious 
character  whose  intent  is  obvious.  The  friars,  finding  in 
the  native   dances   something  of  a   dramatic   character, 


from  the  first  made  use  of  this  rudimentary  drama  to 
further  their  eflForts  in  converting  the  Indians.  It  was  an 
easy  matter  to  turn  into  the  native  tongues  the  religious 
plays  or  autos  of  which  the  Spaniards  were  so  fond  for 
their  own  edification.  But  secular  plays  were  also  adapted. 
Three  plays  of  Lope  de  Vega  are  said  to  have  existed  in  a 
Mexican  dialect,  Nahuatl.  To  literary  historians  a  cer- 
tain drama  in  the  Peruvian  or  Quechua  language,  Ollantdy 
has  long  presented  a  problem  of  interest. 

The  argument  of  the  play  is  briefly  as  follows:  Ollanta 
(or  Ollantay)  is  a  chief  of  lowly  birth  who  meets  parental 
opposition  in  his  love  for  Cusi-Coyllur  (Joy-star),  daughter 
of  the  Inca.  Her  father  dismisses  the  young  man's  suit 
with  anger.  The  Andean  mountaineers  among  whom 
Ollanta  has  taken  refuge  make  him  their  king,  with 
Ollantay-Tambo  as  his  stronghold.  After  a  few  years 
the  old  Inca  dies  and  his  sop^lma-Sumac  reigns  in  his 
stead.  The  ten-year-old  daughter  of  Ollanta  and  Cusi- 
Coyllur  appears  on  the  scene  as  an  inmate  of  the  convent 
where  the  elect  virgins  of  the  sun  reside  in  Cuzco.  She 
discovers  that  her  mamer  is  kept  there  a  prisoner.  By 
treachery  Ollanta  isyoound  in  chains  and  brought  before 
the  Inca.  The  latter  however  pardons  him.  At  that 
moment  Ima-Syi/nac  rushes  into  the  Inca's  court  and 
tearfully  relates  the  cruelties  inflicted  on  her;,  mother 
in  prison.  Thejnca  and  Ollanta  go  to  the  convent  of 
the  elect  virgins.  Both  recognize  Cusi-Coyllur  who  is 
released  by  the  command  of  the  Inca  and  given  in  mar- 
riage to  Ollanta. 

It  was  formerly  believed  that  this  play  was  a  relic  of 
a  Quechuan  literature.      The  early  Spanish   historians, 


notably  the  Inca  Garcilasso  de  la  Vega  testified  that  a 
rude  form  of  drama  existed  among  the  Peruvians.  But 
investigation  has  revealed  not  only  that  the  rhetorical 
structure  of  Ollanta  is  that  of  a  Spanish  drama  but  also 
it  is  written  in  meters  peculiar  to  Spanish,  such  as  re- 
dondillas,  quintillas  and  decimas.  Much  printer's  ink 
has  been  shed  over  this  play  and  its  authorship.  The 
last  and  most  thorough  study  of  it,  that  of  Prof.  E.  C. 
Hills,  seems  to  show  that  a  certain  Antonio  Valdes,  parish 
priest  of  Tinta,  who  produced  it  with  great  pomp  be- 
tween 1770  and  1780,  was  its  author. 

Other  clergymen  familiar  with  the  native  tongue  used 
the  drama  to  assist  their  religious  teaching.  The  learned 
doctor  Juan_de_Es£iaQsa_Medranp,  was  the  author  of  an 
Auto  sacramental  del  Hijo  Prodigo  in  which  the  scriptural 
story  of  the  prodigal  son  is  edifyingly  set  forth  with  realistic 
details.  Another  considerable  play  in  the  Quechua  lan- 
guage has  for  title  Usca  Paucar,  by  an  unknown  author. 
The  dramatic  quality  of  this  play  is  meager,  but  its  theme 
shows  that  it  was  intended  to  urge  upon  the  natives  the 
veneration  of  the  Virgin  at  the  chapel  of  our  Lady  of 

This  church  stood  on  the  south  shore  of  Lake  Titicaca 
where  the  aborigines  had  a  sanctuary  before  the  coming 
of  the  Spaniards.  To  adorn  their  mission  the  Augustinians 
by  whose  care  it  was  maintained,  brought  from  Spain  an 
old  painting  of  the  Virgin.  This  way  of  converting  the 
natives  was  similar  to  that  pursued  in  Mexico  at  the 
establishment  of  the  church  of  our  Lady  of  Guadalupe. 
And  while  the  relative  greater  importance  of  the  latter 
has  evoked  more  devotional  verse,  our  Lady  of  Copaca- 


bana  had  the  signal  honor  of  being  staged  in  a  play  by 
Calderon,  La  Aurora  en  Copacabana,  who  drew  his  argu- 
ment either  from  a  poem  El  Santuario  de  Nuestra  Senora 
de  Copacabana,  by  Fray  Fernando  de  Valverde,  or  a  prose 
narrative  of  the  mission  of  the  Augustinian  fathers. 

The  history  of  the  drama  in  Spanish  America,  apart 
from  the  loas  and  allegorical  pieces  produced  to  celebrate 
some  viceroy's  arrival,  is  obscure.  The  thorough  estab- 
lishment of  the  theater  in  Mexico  is  plain,  however,  from 
Balbuena's  testimony,  who  refers  to  the  production  of 
"new  comedies  every  day."  Among  the  Spanish  poets 
who  sought  fortune  in  America  were  several  dramatists, 
as  Juan  de  la  Cueva  and  Luis  de  Belmonte  Bermudez. 
One  of  the  most  famous  of  the  Spanish  dramatists  of  the 
golden  period  was  on  the  other  hand  bom  in  Mexico, 
Tuan  Ruiz  de  Alarcon  (died  1639).  Though  contemporary 
with  Lope  de  Vega,  his  plays  were  distinguished  from 
the  latter's  by  a  greater  care  for  form  and  a  more  careful 
psychological  analysis  of  the  characters.  Alarcon's  sober- 
ness and  the  epigrammatic  quality  of  his  style  were,  in 
the  opinion  of  a  recent  critic,  Pedro  Henriquez  Urena, 
the  contributions  of  his  Mexican  birth.  The  high  altitude 
of  central  Mexico  seems  to  tone  down  the  native  exuber- 
ance of  the  Andalusian.  It  is  possible  too  that  Alarcon 
learned  the  dramatic  art  in  Mexico  where  two  of  his  pub- 
lished comedies,  El  semejante  a  si  mismo  and  Mudarse 
por  mejorarsey  may  have  been  written,  since  they  abound 
in  expressions  peculiar  to  Mexico. 

A  dramatist  whose  whole  career  was  spent  in  Mexico, 
though  he  was  probably  bom  in  Spain,  was  femanGon- 
zalez  de  Eslava.     His  works  have  been  preserved  in  a 


book  printed  in  16 10,  years  after  his  death,  with  the  title, 
Coloquios  espirituales  y  Poesias  sagradas.  Though  the 
form  of  his  plays  is  mainly  the  allegorical,  he  introduces 
in  the  dialogue  an  endless  series  of  everyday  characters 
whose  language,  full  of  idioms  and  even  vulgarisms,  re- 
veals as  no  other  book  the  speech  current  in  Mexico  at 
that  period. 

The  colonial  history  of  Spanish  America  is  faithfully 
mirrored  in  its  literary  productions.  The  prose  narratives 
and  the  heroic  poems  picture  the  period  of  discovery  and 
conquest  during  the  sixteenth  century.  As  the  viceroys' 
courts  become  more  important  in  the  seventeenth  century 
poems  of  occasion  represent  the  secular  side  of  life,  while 
the  friars*  interests  are  revealed  in  devotional  writing  in 
verse  and  prose,  in  dramas  intended  for  instruction,  and 
in  miscellaneous  works  in  both  the  vernacular  and  Latin 
concerning  the  activities  of  their  orders.  At  the  be- 
ginning of  the  eighteenth  century  a  profound  lethargy 
descends  on  colonial  life  which  remains  almost  unbroken 
till  the  great  upheaval  of  the  revolutionary  period  in  the 
early  years  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

There  were,  however,  a  few  stirrings  which  broke  the 
calm  in  the  different  countries.  In  Mexico  the  prerevolu- 
tionary  awakening  centers  in  Fray  Manuel  de  Navarrete  y^ 
( 1 768-1 809).  This  Franciscan  friar  endeavored  to  restore 
poetry  by  founding  a  literary  society,  the  "Arcadia 
mexicana"  and  by  writing  anacreontics  of  shepherds  and 
shepherdesses  in  the  style  of  the  Spanish  poet  Melendez, 
but  without  a  hint  of  sensuality.  His  eclogues  were  writ- 
ten on  the  other  hand  after  the  manner  of  Garcilaso  de  la 
Vega.     Navarrete  displayed  more  originality,  or  at  least 


a  personal  note,  in  his  religious  verse.  As  his  style  was 
fluent  and  musical  he  attracted  admirers  who  followed 
him  in  his  classicism.  But  they  lived  to  witness  the 
revolution  and  wrote  under  its  inspiration  their  more 
important  pieces.  The  poetic  style  of  the  Mexican  revolu- 
tionary poets  is  rather  better  than  those  of  other  regions, 
a  fact  to  which  Navarrete's  influence  may  have  contrib- 

Over  South  America  a  wave  of  scientific  investigation 
in  all  departments  of  natural  history  and  physical  geog- 
raphy spread  during  the  last  half  of  the  eighteenth  cen- 
tury. In  Bogota,  the  capital  of  the  new  viceroyalty  of 
Nueva  Granada  established  in  1740,  a  botanist  and  scien- 
V  tist  of  the  first  rank,  Jqrq  Cp^p<?ti"0  Mm-is,  a  Spaniard, 
began  his  teaching  in  1762.  A  whole  generation  of  en- 
thusiastic students  were  trained  in  his  classes.  The  most 
brilliant  of  them  was  Francisco  Jose  Caldas  who  became 
the  master's  successor.  Caldas,  as  one  branch  of  his 
studies,  formed  a  herbarium  of  five  to  six  thousand  plants 
of  this  region  of  America,  accompanied  by  an  exhaustive 
account  of  the  diff'erent  altitudes  and  localities  where 
each  plant  throve.  As  director  of  the  astronomical  ob- 
servatory he  made  many  useful  studies  of  various  charac- 
ter some  of  which  he  made  public  in  a  special  periodical 
El  Semanario  de  la  Nueva  Granada.  To  this  journal 
many  contributed  both  scientific  articles  and  even  verses. 
And  it  was  this  little  group  of  lovers  of  science  who  first 
conspired  against  the  hegemony  of  Spain.  Some  of  them 
were  sent  as  prisoners  to  Spain  while  others,  among  them 
Caldas,  met  their  death  from  the  rifles  of  a  firing  party  in 


In  Ecuador  the  scientific  spirit  as  embodied  in  a  skillful 
physician,  Dr.  Francisco  Eugenio  de  Santa  Cruz  y  Espejo. 
paid  attention  to  the  subject  of  education.  In  1779  he 
put  into  circulation  his  Nuevo  Luciano  0  despertador  de 
ingenios.  It  was  a  critical  satire  in  dialogue  form  which 
exposed  the  evils  of  the  prevailing  system  of  education. 
Later  Dr.  Espejo  satirized  personally  the  Spanish  colonial 
minister,  an  exploit  which  cost  him  a  year  in  prison  and 
banishment  to  Bogota.  There  his  writings  assisted  in 
preparing  the  revolution. 

In  Peru  science  was  fostered  by  the  viceroy  Francisco 
Y  Q\\  de  Tahoadaj  who  had  been  an  admiral  in  the  Spanish 
navy.  He  permitted  the  establishment  of  a  society  "Los 
Amantes  del  Pais'*  and  the  publication,  1791,  of  a  journal 
El  Mercurio  peruana  which  was  mainly  devoted  to  scien- 
tific topics.  The  editor  and  most  learned  contributor  was 
Dr.  Hipolito  Unanue,  professor  of  medicine  in  the  univer- 

But  the  most  celebrated  literary  production  of  this 
epoch  in  Lima  was  at  the  opposite  pole  of  seriousness  and 
respectability.  The  name  of  the  book  which  has  been 
many  times  reprinted  was  Lima  por  dentro  y  fuera  by 
"Simon  Ayanque,'*  a  pseudonym  of  Esteban  de  Terralla 
y  Landa.  The  author  was  an  Andalusian  who  eked  out  a 
living  by  writing  verses  of  occasion.  In  1792  he  published 
his  satire  of  the  types  of  individuals  in  Lima.  The  title- 
page  of  the  book  gives  a  hint  of  the  levity  and  even  the 
obscenity  of  some  of  its  seventeen  romances.  The  eccle- 
siastical authorities  considered  suppressing  it  but  such 
action  was  not  necessary  to  complete  its  popularity.  Its 
literary  value,  even  as  a  provocative  to  laughter,  has  been 


unanimously  denied  by  critics,  but  its  ready  sale  both  to 
contemporaries  and  to  later  generations,  especially  in  a 
certain  edition  embellished  by  colored  drawings,  testifies 
to  an  element  of  truth  in  its  portraiture. 

Satire  of  the  authorities  was  about  the  only  method 
by  which  discontent  at  this  time  could  express  itself.  In 
Chile  a  mock  epic  La  Tucapelinuy  which  for  the  personal 
safety  of  its  author  circulated  in  manuscript,  burlesqued 
the  captain  general  and  his  deputies  for  their  part  in  the 
restoration  of  a  church  at  Tucapel  in  1783.  This  poem 
and  certain  others  descriptive  of  disasters  in  Chile  seem 
now  at  least  to  echo  rumblings  of  the  approaching  storm 
of  revolution. 

Across  the  Andes  from  Chile  on  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic 
the  eighteenth  century  witnessed  the  rapid  growth  of  the 
commerce  of  Buenos  Aires.  In  1776  the  vast  region  now 
known  as  Argentina  including  most  of  modern  Bolivia 
y^  was  established  as  a  viceroyalty.  To  Jjianjfise  ^Verd^, 
viceroy  from  1778  to  1784,  the  city  of  Buenos  Aires  owed 
its  first  steps  in  transition  from  a  wretched  town  to  a 
modem  capital.  He  founded  all  manner  of  public  works, 
a  system  of  street  lighting,  a  college,  a  hospital,  an  orphan 
asylum,  and  even  a  theater.  For  the  benefit  of  the  orphan 
asylum  he  established  a  printing  press  so  that  the  first 
book  printed  in  Buenos  Aires  dates  from  his  administra- 

As  the  first  rector  of  his  new  Colegio  de  San  Carlos, 

Y     Vertiz   appointed   Jiian_Jtali-asar  Mayiel    (i 727-88),   an 

ecclesiastic  of  liberal  tendencies  and  wide  reading  owning 

the  best  library  of  the  city.     Maziel  was  an  interesting 

personality  who  wrote  much  in  prose  and  verse.     Two 


satirical  sonnets  of  his  brought  him  into  conflict  with  a 
subsequent  viceroy,  the  Marques  de  Loreto,  who  sum- 
marily seized  his  person  and  transported  him  to  Mon- 
tevideo. Maziel  died  before  the  news  of  his  own  vin- 
dication by  the  Spanish  king's  order  reached  America. 
About  Maziel  there  sprang  up  a  literary  circle. 

His  friend  and  defender  in  the  controversy  over  the 
sonnets  Manuel  Jose  de  Labarden  (i 754-1 809)  was  a  v 
man  of  unusual  literary  ability.  His  claims  on  fame  are 
two,  an  ode  Al  Parana,  and  a  play  Siripo,  both  the  more 
remarkable  as  anticipating  subsequent  Argentine  litera- 
ture. The  verses  descriptive  of  the  great  river  penetrating 
far  to  the  interior  were  the  first  about  the  landscape  from 
which  so  many  later  poets  drew  their  inspiration.  Siripo 
is  a  play  treating  the  relations  of  the  white  men  and  the 
aborigines.  It  breathes  of  the  pampa.  The  life  of  the 
pampa  in  the  form  of  gaucho  poetry  makes  the  originality 
of  Argentine  verses  and  plays. 

The  story  of  Siripo y  drawn  from  an  early  chronicle, 
was  frequently  rehandled  by  others.  A  young  white 
woman,  Lucia  Miranda,  in  a  raid  on  the  settlements,  was 
taken  captive  by  the  cacique  Siripo.  Her  husband  joined 
her  in  captivity.  Siripo  condemned  him  to  death  but 
offered  him  his  life  on  condition  that  he  marry  into  the 
tribe  while  Lucia  became  Siripo's  bride.  The  pair  refuse. 
Their  faithfulness  to  each  other  so  exasperated  the  savage 
that  he  had  them  put  cruelly  to  death. 

This  drama  was  first  represented  in  the  carnival  of 
1789  and  immediately  brought  its  author  renown.  The 
play  had  been  long  written  however  for  Labarden  read 
some  of  the  scenes  at  Maziel's  house.     Moreover,  in  his 


youth  Labarden  had  been  a  student  at  Chuquisaca  in 
upper  Peru  where  he  was  on  intimate  terms  with  Valdes, 
the  discoverer  or  author  of  the  Quechua  drama  Ollantd, 
In  Valdes'  small  collection  of  dramatic  books  Labarden 
had  his  only  opportunity  to  learn  the  dramatic  art.  And 
it  is  possible  that  Valdes'  reading  of  Ollantd  gave  Labar- 
den the  idea  of  writing  Siripo. 

Labarden's  ode  Al  Parana  embellished  the  first  number 
of  the  first  periodical  printed  in  Buenos  Aires,  April  i, 
1 80 1,  El  Telegrafo  mercantil  rural  politico,  economico,  e 
historiografo  del  Rio  de  la  Plata.  An  outlet  for  the  thoughts 
of  the  restless  spirits  whose  education  had  been  acquired 
in  Vertiz'  Colegio  de  San  Carlos  was  thus  supplied.  After 
a  year's  successful  publication  its  suppression  was  caused 
by  the  satires  of  a  festive  versifier.  But  the  ground  was 
prepared.  Other  papers  followed.  The  means  of  pub- 
licity and  the  ability  to  write  were  at  hand  when  in  the 
first  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century  the4dea  of  revolu- 
tion spread  abroad  in  this  part  of  Amaiica  which  first 
successfully  asserted  its  independence  from  Spain. 



The  literature  of  the  revolutionary  period  sprang  di- 
rectly from  the  hearts  of  men,  a  literature  of  occasion  in- 
spired by  the  hopes  and  aspirations  of  the  colonials  or  the 
events  of  their  warfare  against  the  mother  country.  To 
comprehend  its  meaning  then  one  must  follow  its  produc- 
tion step  by  step  under  the  stress  of  the  mighty  struggle. 

Its  forms  were  often  rude  and  uncouth  because  literary 
models  within  reach  of  the  writers  were  few.  In  Chile 
for  example  Camilo  Henriquez  patterned  his  verses  on  a 
single  volume  of  the  poems  of  Tomas  Iriarte,  the  only  book 
of  poetry  which  he  could  find  in  Santiago.  The  scarcity 
of  books  in  Spanish  America  was  due  in  part  to  the  ob- 
scurantist policy  of  the  Spanish  government.  In  the  reign 
of  Carlos  IV,  when  a  question  arose  concerning  the  chair 
of  mathematics  in  the  University  of  Caracas  the  king 
abruptly  dismissed  the  matter  by  the  dictum,  "It  is  not 
expedient  to  educate  the  Americans."  Education  had 
fallen  to  a  low  plane  in  Spain  itself  so  that  the  state  of 
culture  in  the  mother  country  was  naturally  reflected  in 
the  colonies. 

The  lack  of  books  was  aggravated  by  the  scarcity  of 
printing  presses.  Though  printing  presses  were  set  up  in 
Lima  and  Mexico  in  the  sixteenth  century,  there  were 
none  in  Havana  before  1787  nor  in  Chile  before  1811.    To 



Venezuela  the  first  press  was  brought  by  General  Miranda 
in  1806  as  a  weapon  to  spread  the  propaganda  of  revolt. 

—  Moreover,  the  importation  of  books  was  opposed  by  the 
authorities  who  believed  them  to  be  agents  of  sedition. 
In  1797  the  royal  audiencia  of  Venezuela,  reporting  on  the 
revolutionary  fiasco  of  that  year,  noted  as  one  of  the 
causes,  "the  introduction  of  papers  from  the  foreign  islands 
and  the  old  world  in  spite  of  the  vigilance  of  the  author- 
ities." But  an  interesting  light  is  thrown  on  the  quality 
of  their  vigilance  or  their  intelligence  by  an  anecdote  con- 
cerning an  importation  of  books  into  Chile.  A  set  of  such 
pernicious  writings  as  the  works  of  the  French  Ency- 
clopedists was  successfully  passed  through  the  customs  by 
the  simple  expedient  of  affixing  to  the  volumes  theological 
N^  The  friction  between  Spain  and  her  colonies  had  its 
roots  in  the  disposition  of  the  government  to  exploit  the 
/  new  world  for  the  benefit  both  economically  and  admin- 
(  istratively  of  the  old.    The  Spaniards  assumed  and  main- 

^tained  a  monopoly  of  the  trade  with  the  colonies.     The 

latter  were  compelled  to  buy  only  Spanish  goods  or  goods 
brought  in  Spanish  ships.  In  the  matter  of  administration 
immigrants  direct  from  Spain  were  favored  over  the  chil- 
dren of  the  second  generation  who  were  known  as  Creoles 
-— -  (criollos).  In  fact  the  latter  were  generally  excluded  from 
office  holding.  Spanish  officials  were  forbidden  to  marry 
daughters  of  the  Creoles.  If  sometimes  royal  favor  lifted 
the  ban,  the  lucky  couple  were  transferred  to  another  dis- 
trict than  that  of  the  bride's  residence.  Political  disabil- 
ities  had  quite  as  much  influence  in  preparing  the  colonial 
mind  for  revolt  as  the  economic  restrictions. 


The  form  of  government  which  the  rebellious  colonies  

set  up  was  that  of  a  democracy.  But  fundamentally  their  ] 
governments  were  oligarchic.  A  league  of  families  in  each 
country  maintained  in  varying  degrees  the  colonial  system 
in  which  the  great  body  of  the  people  had  little  part.  The 
years  of  turmoil,  not  yet  ended  in  some  countries,  which 
followed  the  separation  from  Spain  denote  the  struggle 
of  the  crowd  to  win  its  share  in  the  government. 

The  distress  and  confusion  in  Spain  caused  by  the 
Napoleonic  invasion  brought  the  colonials  their  opportu-  -  - 
nity.  The  condition  of  affairs  was  first  made  clear  to 
America  by  the  English  attempt  in  1806  to  seize  and  hold 
the  city  of  Buenos  Aires.  On  account  of  the  relations  be- 
tween France  and  Spain  at  that  time,  the  captain  general 
of  the  provinces  of  the  river  Plate  was  a  Frenchman  by 
the  name  of  Jacques  de  Liniers.  Though  the  English 
landed  a  body  of  troops  under  General  William  Beresford, 
and  occupied  the  city,  Liniers  organized  a  large  volunteer 
force  which,  ably  seconding  his  few  regular  soldiers,  suc- 
ceeded in  compelling  the  surrender  of  the  invaders.  The 
next  year  another  English  expeditionary  army  under 
General  Whitelock  met  a  similar  fate  after  severe  fighting 
in  the  streets  of  the  city. 

This  successful  defense  of  Buenos  Aires  had  a  remark-  - 
able  effect  on  the  minds  of  the  citizens.  In  the  first  place 
it  made  them  conscious  of  their  collective  strength.  In 
the  second  place  the  innumerable  ballads  and  verses  which 
appeared  in  print  extolling  their  deeds  of  valor  filled  ., 
their  spirits  with  truculence  and  their  imaginations  with 
visions  of  glory.  When  the  occasion  offered  in  18 10  they 
were  ready  to  see  them  realized  in  a  fight  against  Spain. 


The  title  "poet  of  the  English  invasions"  has  been  con- 
ferred on  Pantaleon  Rivarola  (1754-1821).  But  the 
poetic  worth  of  his  compositions  like  those  of  Jose  Prego 
de  Oliver,  Fray  Cayetano  Rodriguez,  and  many  other 
balladists,  is  slight.  Rivarola's  longest  effort,  Romance 
heroico  de  la  Reconquista,  was  written  for  recitation  to  the 
accompaniment  of  the  guitar,  but  it  was  a  very  prosaic 
detailed  account  of  the  fighting.  Greater  artistic  merit 
may  be  claimed  for  the  Triunfo  Argentino  of  Vicente  Lopez 
y  Planes  (i 784-1 856)  who  served  as  captain  in  a  famous 
company  called  "Los  Patricios."  This  ballad  has  vigor 
of  movement  and  at  times  almost  epic  interest.  Lopez' 
celebrity  rests  however  on  his  national  hymn  adopted  as 
such  by  the  national  assembly  in  18 13. 

The  part  played  by  the  volunteers  from  Montevideo 
in  retaking  Buenos  Aires  from  the  English  was  set  forth 
in  an  allegorical  drama,  La  Lealtad  mas  acendrada  y 
Buenos  Aires  vengada,  by  Juan  Francisco  Martinez,  a 
native  of  Uruguay.  The  two  cities  are  represented  as 
nymphs  dwelling  in  a  forest.  Montevideo,  inspired  and 
protected  by  Mars,  undertakes  the  rescue  of  Buenos  Aires 
from  Neptune,  the  protector  of  the  English. 

For  his  part  in  the  defense  of  Buenos  Aires,  Liniers  was 
appointed  viceroy.  When  Napoleon  Bonaparte's  brother 
Joseph  became  king  of  Spain,  1808,  a  revolt  against  the 
French  broke  out  with  violence  in  all  Spain.  The  na- 
tionalist party  wished  to  restore  Ferdinand  VII  to  power. 
In  America  riots  occurred  in  the  principal  capitals  and 
a  "junta"  or  committee  of  citizens  attempted  to  take  over 
the  powers  of  government  "in  the  name  of  Ferdinand 
VII."     These  juntas  were   patterned   after  the  central 


junta  of  Sevilla  which  was  managing  the  rebellion  in 
Spain.  Consequently  when  it  fell  to  pieces  in  18 10  the 
American  juntas  were  left  as  it  were  hanging  in  the  air. 
In  Buenos  Aires  the  situation  was  met  by  the  gathering  of 
an  armed  assembly.  Liniers  had  been  superseded  as  vice- 
roy by  Baltasar  de  Cisneros  and  a  party  in  the  assembly 
wished  to  make  him  president.  This  movement  was  de- 
feated, and  Cisneros  withdrew  to  Montevideo.  Henceforth 
the  assembly  ruled.  The  date  of  its  first  meeting,  May  25th, 
has  since  been  regarded  as  the  Argentine  national  holiday. 

One  of  the  assembly's  first  acts,  June  7th,  18 10,  was  the 
establishment  of  a  semiweekly  official  journal,  La  Gaceta 
de  Buenos  Aires.  The  director  of  this  organ  was  also  the 
secretary  of  the  junta,  Mariano  Moreno  (i 778-1 811). 
To  the  projects  of  this  ardent  democrat  and  the  articles  by 
which  he  urged  them,  the  cause  of  the  revolution  in 
Argentina  was  greatly  indebted.  He  brought  about  the 
establishment  of  the  national  library  for  which  J.  B. 
Maziel's  books  formed  a  nucleus.  In  the  name  also  of 
liberty  of  thought  he  effected  the  establishment  of  a  school 
of  mathematics  partly  for  training  officers  for  the  army. 
Finally  as  the  Argentine  people  were  preparing  for  na- 
tional defense,  he  was  sent  on  a  diplomatic  mission  to 
England  with  full  powers  to  conclude  any  international 
arrangement.  But  his  feeble  health  broke  down  en  route 
and  he  died  at  sea. 

Preparation  for  the  armed  defense  of  Buenos  Aires  was 
largely  entrusted  to  Manuel  Belgrano(i 770-1 820).  Rally- 
ing the  young  men  under  the  colors  sky-blue  and  white, 
now  those  of  the  Argentine  flag,  he  made  ready  to  meet 
the  Spanish  army  advancing  from  Upper  Peru.     At  the 


same  time  there  was  danger  from  the  forces  in  Montevideo 
though  the  gaucho  leader  Artigas  was  besieging  the  city 
on  the  landward  side  assisted  at  sea  by  a  daredevil  Irish- 
man, William  Brown,  in  command  of  a  few  poor  ships. 
Belgrano  advanced  to  Tucuman,  about  eight  hundred 
miles  northwest  of  Buenos  Aires.  He  had  collected  a 
goodly  body  of  gauchos  who  on  the  day  of  the  fight  broke 
the  strength  of  the  Spanish  army.  Occurring  in  Septem- 
ber, 1 812,  this  battle  resulted  in  such  a  victory  that  Buenos 
Aires  was  never  again  seriously  threatened  by  a  Spanish 
army.  Belgrano  proceeded  toward  Upper  Peru  but  a 
year  later  was  caught  at  a  disadvantage  and  completely 
defeated  in  October  of  1 813.  On  his  return  to  the  city  he 
was  sent  to  Spain  to  try  to  arrange  a  settlement  on  the 
basis  of  autonomy  for  Argentina,  but  the  Spanish  govern- 
ment rejected  his  suggestions.  On  July  9th,  1816,  a 
congress  of  the  Argentine  provinces  in  session  at  Tucuman 
formally  declared  themselves  independent  of  Spain.  Bel- 
grano's  services  have  never  been  forgotten  by  the  Argen- 
tines. And  a  young  poet,  Juan  C.  Lafinur,  who  left  the 
university  to  enlist  in  Belgrano's  army,  won  fame  for 
himself  by  certain  elegies  which  he  wrote  at  the  time  of 
the  leader's  death. 

The  student  of  the  revolution  must  not  forget  that 
everywhere  existed  active  partisans  of  Spanish  interests. 
These  loyalists  had  to  be  persuaded  either  by  force  or  by 
rhetoric  to  join  the  revolution.  To  some  the  appeal  was 
made  through  the  press;  to  others  by  speeches  in  public 
meetings,  by  verses  and  patriotic  songs.  In  Buenos 
Aires  the  poets  vied  with  each  other  in  writing  a  national 
anthem.     Esteban  de  Luca,   Fray  Cayetano  Rodriguez 


and  Vicente  Lopez  y  Planes,  each  produced  one  which 
for  a  season  enjoyed  popularity.  But  in  1813  the  national 
congress  of  which  Lopez  y  Planes  was  a  member,  decreed 
that  his  "Marcha  patriotica  should  be  sung  at  all  official 
festivals  and  that  at  dawn  of  the  anniversaries  of  the  25th 
of  May,  the  school  children  should  meet  in  the  public 
town  square  to  salute  the  rising  sun  with  the  national 

Beginning  with  the  clarion  call, 

Old,  mortales,  el  grito  sagrado, 
Libertad,  libertad,  libertad! 

the  song  sought  to  arouse  hatred  of  the  oppressor  and 
especially  of  certain  leaders  of  the  Spanish  army,  who, 
having  been  born  in  America,  were  called  "vile."  The 
several  strophes  were  packed  with  allusions  to  recent 
events.  In  this  close  touch  with  reality  the  Argentine 
national  anthem  differed  from  those  of  other  countries 
largely  composed  of  abstract  commonplaces.  Certain 
phrases,  such  as  "a  new  and  glorious  nation,"  "a  lion 
bowed  at  her  feet,"  and  the  term  "argentino"  recurring 
several  times,  caught  the  popular  fancy.  People  had 
printed  on  their  visiting  cards  designs  to  represent  these 
notions.  Its  expressions  of  hatred  for  Spaniards  were  so 
ferocious  that  late  in  the  nineteenth  century,  after  futile 
efforts  to  substitute  a  milder  hymn,  the  president  of  the 
republic  decreed  that  only  the  first  and  last  quatrains 
and  the  chorus  which  were  free  of  offense  should  be  sung 
at  public  celebrations.  Its  author,  Lopez  y  Planes,  at- 
tained political  prominence  and  late  in  life  even  became 
provisional  president  of  Argentina. 


The  fierce  hatred  of  the  rebelling  colonials  has  always 
been  resented  by  Spaniards  as  unjust.  They  have  specially 
ridiculed  the  colonial  tendency  to  identify  their  own  cause 
with  that  of  the  aborigines.  How  can  the  descendants 
of  Spanish  conquistadores  refer  to  themselves,  even  in 
outbursts  of  patriotic  song,  as  sons  of  the  Inca.?  Though 
there  is  much  sense  in  the  Spanish  point  of  view,  yet  the 
power  of  the  appeal  is  evident.  So  thorough  a  student 
of  Spanish-American  history  as  Clements  R.  Markham, 
referring  to  the  uprising  of  the  Indians  of  Peru  in  1780, 
says, — "From  the  cruel  death  of  the  last  of  the  Incas 
may  be  dated  the  rise  of  that  feeling  which  ended  in  the 
expulsion  of  the  Spaniards  from  South  America." 

This  historical  event  is  known  as  the  rebellion  of  Tupac 
Amaru.  It  will  be  remembered  that  after  the  Spaniards 
had  thoroughly  established  their  power  in  Peru,  they 
made  some  slight  provision  for  the  welfare  of  the  natives. 
A  school,  the  Colegio  de  San  Borja,  for  the  Christian 
education  of  their  young  princes  was  opened  in  Cuzco. 
But  the  claimants  to  the  throne  of  the  Incas  were  cruelly 
treated.  In  1571  the  viceroy,  Francisco  de  Toledo,  second 
son  of  the  Marques  de  Oropesa,  with  the  idea  of  stifling 
any  future  attempt  on  the  part  of  the  natives  to  rally 
around  the  person  of  an  Inca,  put  to  death  on  slight  pre- 
text the  eighteen-year-old  boy,  Tupac  Amaru,  then  the 
acknowledged  head  of  the  royal  house.  But  one  of  the 
viceroy's  own  relatives  married  an  Inca  princess.  A  de- 
scendant of  theirs  in  1770,  who  had  been  educated  in  the 
Colegio  de  San  Borja,  successfully  prosecuted  his  claim 
to  the  marquisate  of  Oropesa  before  the  royal  audiencia 
of  Lima,  which  at  the  same  time  recognized  him  as  the 


fifth  in  lineal  descent  from  the  Inca  Tupac  Amaru.  Join- 
ing the  prestige  of  this  name  which  he  assumed  to  that  of 
his  Spanish  title,  the  new  Inca  set  to  work  to  bring  about 
better  conditions  for  the  Indian  population  in  Peru. 
Having  exhausted  during  ten  years  of  effort  all  legal  means 
to  attain  his  object,  he  stirred  up  the  Indians  to  armed 
resistance.  Their  temporarily  successful  revolt  soon  met 
with  defeat  at  the  hands  of  the  Spanish  army.  Not  only 
was  the  Inca  captured  and  cruelly  executed  but  Indians 
everywhere  were  relentlessly  hunted  down.  Including 
their  reprisals  on  isolated  white  settlers  and  their  own 
slaughter,  no  less  than  80,000  people  are  said  to  have 

The  story  of  this  dreadful  affair  was  undoubtedly  used 
for  political  effect  during  the  colonial  struggle  against 
Spain.  An  Argentine  historian,  Gregorib  Funes  (1749- 
1829)  was  the  first  to  write  a  detailed  account  including 
it  in  his  Ensayo  de  la  Historia  civil  de  Buenos  AireSy  Tucu- 
mdn  y  Paraguay.  The  three  volumes  of  this  history 
published  in  1816  and  1817  must  be  recognized  as  a  schol- 
ar's effort  to  assist  the  revolutionary  propaganda.  Like 
Tacitus  whom  he  took  for  a  model  Funes  emphasized  the 
errors  of  the  government  and  the  crimes  of  its  agents. 
His  story  of  the  period  preceding  the  revolution  is  brought 
to  a  climax  with  the  rebellion  of  Tupac  Amaru. 

In  the  dedication,  "A  la  Patria,"  Funes  says:  "The 
day  was  to  arrive  at  last  when  the  love  of  country  would 
not  be  a  crime.  Under  the  old  regime  thought  was  a  slave 
and  the  soul  of  the  citizen  did  not  belong  to  him.  The 
scene  was  changed.  We  are  now  free  men.  The  country 
demands  its  rights  now  from  the  beings  it  protects.  .  .  . 


As  for  me  I  dedicate  to  it  the  insipid  fruit  of  this  histor- 
ical essay.  At  least  it  has  the  advantage  of  calling  its 
ravagers  to  judgment.  .  .  .  Moreover  the  tyranny  and 
the  actions  of  those  who  have  governed  us  will  serve  as 
documents  to  enable  us  to  discriminate  between  the  good 
and  the  bad  and  to  choose  the  best." 

Funes  was  bom  in  the  town  of  Cordoba,  where  is  located 
the  third  oldest  university  in  America.  Besides  attending 
its  courses  he  was  educated  in  Spain.  Before  his  return 
to  America,  Carlos  III  appointed  him  a  canon  in  the 
cathedral  of  Cordoba,  of  which  he  later  became  dean. 
Residing  in  his  native  town  in  1810,  he  was  one  of  the 
first  to  adopt  the  principles  of  the  revolution.  His  fellow 
townsmen  sent  him  to  represent  them  in  the  first  nc-itional 
assembly  held  in  Buenos  Aires.  For  a  short  time  after 
the  retirement  of  Mariano  Moreno,  Funes  was  editor  of 
the  Gaceta. 

It  was  then  that  the  idea  occurred  to  him  of  writing 
his  history.  Despite  its  political  purpose  the  work  merits 
serious  consideration  as  a  history  of  the  colonial  period 
of  the  Argentine  provinces.  Its  vigorous  well-written 
prose  makes  it  a  worthy  first  of  the  long  series  of  histories 
which  form  a  leading  characteristic  of  Argentine  literature 
in  the  nineteenth  century. 

The  Gaceta  continued  to  be  the  chief  means  of  voicing 
revolutionary  aspirations,  referred  to  collectively  as  the 
"dogma  de  Mayo."  After  Funes'  brief  editorship,  its 
columns  fulminated  with  the  writings  of  Bernardo  de 
Monteagudo  (.?-i825),  one  of  the  extraordinary  person- 
alities of  the  revolution  in  Spanish  America.  Of  brilliant 
mind  though  of  humble  birth  he  was  so  vehement  a  revolu- 


tionist  that  he  had  been  condemned  to  death  and  escaped 
the  penalty  five  times  before  181 2.  His  articles  in  the 
Gaceta  preached  absolute  social  equality  and  the  rights 
of  man.  To  further  his  ideas  he  founded  the  "Sociedad 
Patriotica."  But  his  doctrines  were  not  pleasing  to  the 
so-called  triumvirate  which  ruled  the  city,  so  they  put  a 
stop  to  the  publication  of  the  Gaceta.  Monteagudo  per- 
sisted in  his  utterances  by  starting  a  periodical  of  his 
own,  El  Mdrtir  0  libre,  in  which  his  expressions  were  even 
more  violently  extreme  in  favor  of  the  "dogma  de  Mayo." 
Finally  he  was  driven  from  Buenos  Aires.  During  the 
years  of  the  armed  struggle  he  took  part  in  the  military 
operations  in  Chile.  By  1 821  he  was  in  Peru  in  charge 
of  the  department  of  war.  Again  his  writings  preached 
liberty.  Again  he  founded  a  Sociedad  Patriotica  to  move 
a  people  sluggish  to  adopt  revolutionary  principles.  After 
the  final  success  of  the  revolution,  Monteagudo  died  in 
Lima  by  an  unknown  assassin's  hand.  His  writings  con- 
sisting of  articles  and  fiery  speeches  have  been  collected. 
His  Memorias  give  interesting  details  of  his  unusual 
career,  and  a  vivid  picture  of  the  times. 

Contemporaneous  with  affairs  in  Argentina  similar 
events  were  taking  place  in  Chile.  The  interests  of  these 
neighboring  countries  have  always  been  closely  connected. 
Each  has  served  at  some  time  as  a  refuge  for  the  political 
exiles  of  the  other.  And  as  the  exiles  have  either  been 
journalists  or  have  taken  up  journalism  as  a  means  of 
support,  their  literatures  have  exerted  a  reciprocal  in- 

The  example  of  Buenos  Aires  in  assuming  the  preroga- 
tives of  government  in  May,  1810,  was  followed  in  Chile 


by  the  establishment  of  a  similar  junta  to  govern  in  the 
name  of  Fernando  VII.  The  date  of  its  proclamation, 
September  i8th,  has  since  been  considered  the  national 
holiday  of  Chile.  The  military  situation  was  directed  by 
three  brothers  by  the  name  of  Carrera,  who  corrupted  the 
troops  in  garrison  at  Concepcion.  The  first  congress 
assembled  in  1811.  In  April  of  that  year  occurred  a 
royalist  insurrection  in  Santiago.  During  the  street 
fighting  there  appeared,  encouraging  the  colonial  soldiers, 
a  friar,  Camilo  Henriquez  (1769-1825),  who  was  destined 
to  be  the  most  prominent  person  to  support  the  war  on  the 
intellectual  side.  In  the  fight  he  was  doubly  conspicuous 
by  reason  of  his  garb  unknown  in  Chile,  a  black  gown 
decorated  with  a  red  cross  on  the  left  side  of  the  breast. 
Though  born  a  Chilean  he  had  been  sent  to  Peru  to  be 
educated  by  the  friars  of  La  Buena  Muerte,  an  order 
which  he  entered.  His  militant  action  of  April,  Henriquez 
justified  in  a  sermon  on  the  anniversary  of  North  American 
independence,  July  4th,  181 1. 

This  sermon  was  such  an  able  argument  in  favor  of  the 
revolution  that  even  in  Buenos  Aires  it  was  ordered 
printed  for  distribution.  The  mental  attitude  of  such  a 
large  portion  of  the  better  elements  of  the  people,  espe- 
cially of  the  clergy,  was  so  opposed  to  the  revolution  that 
Henriquez'  determined  stand  in  favor  of  it  possessed  great 
importance.  As  the  intellectual  champion  of  his  party  he 
was  made  the  editor  of  the  periodical,  the  Aurora  de  Chile, 
established  as  its  organ.  The  first  number  appeared  on 
February  13th,  181 2.  On  July  4th,  Henriquez  uttered 
from  its  columns  the  first  cry  for  independence  in  these 


"Let  us  begin  in  Chile  by  declaring  our  independence. 
That  alone  can  blot  out  the  name  of  rebels  which  tyranny 
gives  us.  That  alone  can  raise  us  to  the  dignity  which 
belongs  to  us,  give  us  alliances  among  the  powers  and 
impose  respect  on  our  enemies:  and  if  we  treat  with  them, 
it  will  be  with  the  majesty  proper  to  a  nation.  Let  us  take 
in  short  this  indispensable  step.  Uncertainty  causes  our 
weakness  and  exposes  us  to  disorders  and  dangers." 

On  the  same  date  at  a  dinner  given  by  the  consul  of  the 
United  States,  Henriquez  read  one  of  the  first  of  his  com- 
positions in  verse,  a  Himno  patribtico.  From  that  time  he 
endeavored  to  persuade  by  similar  means,  celebrating  each 
victory  over  the  Spanish  arms  by  appropriate  verses.  In 
this  he  was  joined  by  a  man  of  somewhat  greater  literary 
ability,  Bernardo  de  Vera  y  Pintado  (i  780-1 827).  To- 
gether on  the  occasion  of  the  public  rejoicing  at  the  victory 
of  Jose  Miguel  Carrera  over  the  first  army  sent  to  Chile 
by  the  viceroy  of  Peru,  Henriquez  and  De  Vera,  wearing 
liberty  caps,  sang  in  duet  one  of  their  original  composi- 

De  Vera,  an  Argentine  by  birth,  had  come  to  Chile  to 
attend  the  University  of  Chile  and  had  remained  there  as  a 
practicing  lawyer.  At  the  very  beginning  of  political 
unrest  he  had  sprung  into  public  notice  because,  previous 
to  the  establishment  of  the  junta,  he  had  been  seized  by 
the  authorities  and  ordered  for  trial  to  Lima  on  a  vessel 
waiting  for  him  in  the  harbor  of  Valparaiso.  Before  his 
deportation,  however,  the  revolutionary  junta  was  estab- 
lished in  Santiago.  The  mob  assailed  the  prison  where 
De  Vera  lay  and  releasing  him  escorted  him  in  triumph 
through  the  streets.     De  Vera  was  then  appointed  secre* 


tary  of  the  junta.  He  was  associated  also  with  Henriquez 
in  the  editing  of  the  Aurora  de  Chile.  Throughout  his 
life  he  continued  to  be  politically  prominent.  His  most 
important  literary  work  was  the  national  hymn  of  Chile 
which  he  wrote  in  1819.  The  first  quatrain,  expressing  the 
idea  that  Chile  would  be  either  the  tomb  of  the  free  or  a 
refuge  against  oppression,  was  used  as  a  refrain  after  each 
stanza.  In  1847  it  was  felt  that  the  sentiments  of  this 
hymn  were  too  extreme  and  another  national  hymn  was 
adopted  in  its  place,  though  De  Vera's  hymn  may  still  be 
heard  at  patriotic  celebrations. 

Toward  the  end  of  18 13  the  military  situation  began  to 
look  black  for  the  revolutionaries.  Belgrano*s  Argentine 
army  had  been  annihilated  in  upper  Peru.  A  second 
Spanish  army  sent  from  Lima  completely  worsted  the 
Chileans  under  Bernardo  O'Higgins  and  Carrera  at 
Rancagua  on  October  12th,  18 14.  A  harsh  period  for 
patriots  followed  this  reconquest  of  Chile.  Those  who 
escaped  with  their  lives  took  refuge  in  Argentina.  Henri- 
quez went  to  Buenos  Aires  where  he  took  a  prominent  part 
in  a  literary  movement  along  dramatic  lines  which  was 
going  on  there.  O'Higgins  and  others  joined  a  new 
patriot  army  then  drilling  beyond  the  Andes. 

This  army  was  the  creation  of  Jose  de  San  Martin 
(i 778-1 850).  To  his  genius  and  hard  work  South  America 
owes  its  independence.  The  son  of  a  captain  in  the  Spanish 
army  stationed  in  Argentina,  Jose  had  been  taken  to 
Spain  at  the  age  of  eight  for  a  military  education.  In  the 
Spanish  war  for  liberation  from  the  domination  of  the 
French,  he  distinguished  himself  at  the  battle  of  Bailen 
and  won  the  rank  of  lieutenant  colonel.    In  1812  he  was 


induced  by  Carlos  de  Alvear,  likewise  of  Argentine  birth 
but  belonging  to  a  wealthy  family  of  Buenos  Aires,  to 
accompany  him  to  the  land  of  his  birth.  On  their  arrival 
both  assumed  positions  of  prominence.  San  Martin  was 
given  command  of  a  regiment  of  cavalry  which  speedily 
showed  its  mettle  by  beating  a  Spanish  detachment.  After 
Belgrano's  defeat  San  Martin  was  put  in  general  command 
of  the  Argentine  army.  He  established  a  camp  at  Mendoza 
on  the  Argentine  side  of  the  Andes  in  September,  18 14. 
Without  confiding  to  anybody  his  ultimate  purpose  he 
succeeded  in  two  years  in  collecting  an  army  of  four 
thousand  men  thoroughly  equipped  with  arms,  provisions 
and  means  of  transport. 

Early  in  18 17,  this  army  began  its  passage  of  the  Andes, 
a  military  feat  which  surpasses  any  similar  thing  in  history. 
Napoleon's  crossing  of  the  Great  St.  Bernard  is  renowned; 
but  this  pass  has  an  altitude  of  7963  feet  whereas  that  of 
the  Andes  lies  at  12,700  feet  above  the  sea  with  a  steep 
descent  of  10,000  feet  to  the  plains  of  Chile.  At  such  a 
height  both  man  and  beast  suffer  from  the  terrible  moun- 
tain sickness  to  which  many  succumb.  The  Spanish 
forces  in  Chile  were  awaiting  San  Martin's  army  but  by 
means  of  false  reports  he  succeeded  so  well  in  keeping  them 
in  ignorance  of  his  intended  way  of  approach  that  his 
men  were  clear  of  the  loftier  mountains  before  the  first 
clash  of  arms.  The  main  battle  occurred  on  February  1 2th, 
1 8 17,  at  the  pass  of  Chacabuco.  O'Higgins  in  command  of 
the  Chilean  contingent  carried  out  a  flanking  movement  so 
that  the  result  of  the  battle  was  the  complete  destruction 
of  the  Spanish  army.  Within  forty-eight  hours  San  Martin 
had  entered  Santiago.    The  dictatorship  of  the  country. 


which  was  offered  him,  was  finally  conferred  on  O'Higgins. 
And  the  absolute  independence  of  Chile  from  Spain  was 

The  next  year  the  Spaniards  made  a  supreme  effort  to 
regain  Chile.  An  army  of  veterans  was  sent  from  Lima. 
At  the  first  contact  with  the  patriots  at  Cancha  Rayada 
they  were  victorious.  But  San  Martin  rallied  the  fugitives 
on  his  reserves.  On  April  5th,  181 8,  was  fought  the  battle 
of  Maipu  which  terminated  Spanish  power  in  Chile. 

San  Martin  saw,  however,  the  danger  threatening  Amer- 
ican independence  so  long  as  the  viceroy  at  Lima  remained 
in  authority.  Moreover  the  king  of  Spain  was  collecting  a 
vast  army  at  Cadiz  for  an  attack  on  Buenos  Aires.  After 
the  Argentine  declaration  of  independence  at  Tucuman  in 
1 816,  the  administrative  control  of  the  country  had  been 
largely  in  the  hands  of  Juan  Martin  de  Pueyrredon,  but 
civil  war  had  broken  out  and  was  paralyzing  the  country. 
Nevertheless  San  Martin  set  to  work  to  provide  a  navy  and 
transport  ships  for  the  purpose  of  assailing  the  viceroy  in 
Peru.  In  this  effort  he  found  invaluable  assistance  in 
Lord  Thomas  Cochrane,  Earl  of  Dundonald,  an  officer  with 
a  brilliant  record  in  the  English  navy  but  temporarily  in 
disgrace  with  the  admiralty.  Lord  Cochrane*s  fleet  set 
sail  with  the  combined  Chilean  and  Argentine  army  on 
August  2 1st,  1820.  His  first  exploit  was  a  surprise  attack 
with  small  boats  on  the  largest  Spanish  vessel,  the  forty- 
four  gun  frigate,  "  Esmeralda."  His  boarding  party  cut 
her  out  at  night  from  beneath  the  very  guns  of  the  forts 
at  Callao  and  added  her  to  his  own  fleet.  The  army  was 
landed  from  the  transports  and,  with  but  little  fighting 
because    the    Spaniards   withdrew    into   the    mountains. 


entered  Lima.  San  Martin  organized  a  civil  government 
and  the  independence  of  Peru  was  proclaimed  on  July  28th, 

The  Spanish  army  under  the  viceroy  Jose  de  la  Serna, 
some  twenty  thousand  men,  had  not  however  been  dis- 
posed of  but  was  still  capable  of  vigorous  resistance.  The 
honor  of  accomplishing  its  destruction  was  reserved  for  one 
whose  name  is  even  more  famous  in  South  American 
annals,  the  Liberator,  Simon  Bolivar.  But  before  dis- 
cussing his  military  career  it  will  be  advisable  to  consider 
the  echoes  in  literature  of  these  stirring  events. 

The  only  Peruvian  poet  whose  name  was  connected 
with  the  revolution  was  Mariano  Melgai  (1791-1815), 
and  he  was  not  of  Lima  but  of  the  provincial  capital 
Arequipa.  He  was  a  teacher  of  mathematics  in  the  local 
university  and  joined  the  corps  of  artillery  among  other 
Spaniards  who  associated  themselves  with  an  uprising 
of  the  Indian  population  under  the  cacique  Pumacagua 
in  1 8 13.  General  Ramirez  operating  under  the  orders  of 
General  Joaquin  de  la  Pezuela,  at  that  time  facing  Bel- 
grano's  army,  overcame  the  ill-organized  patriot  army 
at  the  field  of  Humachiri.  Pumacagua  was  hanged  and 
the  white  officers  including  Melgar  were  shot.  After  the 
poet's  death  his  papers  were  entrusted  by  his  sister  to  a 
priest  who  piously  destroyed  the  poems  which  he  thought 
of  seditious  character.  One  of  Melgar*s  political  poems 
somehow  preserved  shows  the  vigor  of  the  young  man's 
mind.  The  lines  depict  the  colossus  of  despotism  falling 
beneath  the  blows  of  liberty  to  the  amazement  of  man- 
kind. His  non-political  poems  reveal  the  delicacy  of  feel- 
ing of  a  real  poet.    They  are  mainly  imitations  of  popular 


poetry  described  by  the  native  word  "yaravi,"  a  sort  of 
plaintive  love  song  not  dissimilar  in  form  from  the  Spanish 
letrilla.  Many  later  poets  have  tried  their  hand  at  writing 
"yaravies.'*  In  honor  of  their  patriot  poet  the  citizens 
of  Arequipa  celebrated  the  centenary  of  his  birth  by  erect- 
ing a  statue  of  him  in  the  public  square. 

In  Lima  the  revolution  found  but  few  sympathizers. 
Consequently  the  literature  shows  rather  the  loyalist 
phase  of  the  situation.  The  University  of  San  Marcos 
for  example  published  the  poems  and  speeches  delivered 
upon  the  occasion  of  General  Pezuela's  accession  to  the 
viceroy alty  in  1816.  The  victories  of  the  Spanish  troops 
at  Rancagua  and  in  Argentina  over  Belgrano  had  their 
panegyrists.  But  life  in  Lima  flowed  on  with  all  its  colo- 
nial nonchalance  so  that  the  most  characteristic  literary 
productions  were  the  festive  verses  of  an  easy-going  priest, 
Jose  Joaquin  de  Larriva  (1780-183  2),  and  his  burlesque 
epic,  La  Angulada.  With  equal  facility  he  could  preach 
a  sermon  in  praise  of  Pezuela  in  18 16  and  eulogize  Bolivar 
in  1826.  Other  versifiers  too  there  were  who  maintained 
the  traditional  Peruvian  love  of  jest. 

The  serious  business  of  the  revolution  on  the  other  hand 
continued  to  occupy  all  minds  in  Buenos  Aires.  A  pro- 
lific versifier  of  political  events  was  Fray  Cayetano  Rod- 
riguez (1761-1823).  His  lines,  though  badly  written,  at 
times  incarnate  the  spirit  of  the  revolution  of  May.  Two 
sonnets  of  his,  Al  25  de  Mayo,  and  a  national  hymn  re- 
tained for  a  long  time  their  popularity  because  they  ex- 
pressed a  warm  enthusiasm  for  liberty  and  a  love  of  coun- 
try. He  was  one  of  the  first  to  improvise  on  the  victory  of 
Chacabuco  when  the  news  of  it  reached  the  city. 


But  the  poet  of  greatest  merit  to  follow  in  his  verses 
the  course  of  war  was  Esteban  de  Luca  (i 786-1 824). 
His  odes  A  Chacabuco,  Al  Triunfo  del  Vice  Almirante 
Lord  Cochrane,  Canto  Lirico  a  la  Libertad  de  Lima,  all 
brought  him  praise.  The  last  was  especially  rewarded 
by  a  gift  of  books  presented  by  the  government.  Some- 
what different  was  his  Al  Pueblo  de  Buenos  Aires,  in  which 
he  exhorted  the  citizens  to  leave  the  town  and  devote  their 
time  to  agriculture  and  the  raising  of  cattle  and  horses. 
Beside  being  a  poet  Luca  was  an  expert  mathematician 
and  metallurgist.  As  such  he  served  his  country  in  direct- 
ing the  cannon  foundry  which  provided  Argentina  with 
artillery.  He  lost  his  life  in  a  shipwreck  in  the  Rio  de 
la  Plata.  This  circumstance  is  commemorated  by  the 
greatest  of  Argentine  poets,  Andrade,  in  his  Arpa  per- 
dida,  of  which  the  last  stanza  feigns  that  travelers 
may  hear  on  quiet  nights  the  sound  of  the  forgotten 
poet's  lyre. 

The  practice  of  writing  patriotic  poems  was  fostered 
by  the  custom  prevailing  in  Buenos  Aires  of  reciting  them 
at  evening  parties.  Two  collections  were  printed,  La 
Lira  argentina,  1821,  and  Poesias  patribticas,  1822,  the 
second  by  order  of  the  government.  The  first  includes 
compositions  written  during  the  English  invasion,  un- 
fortunately without  names  of  the  authors.  More  useful 
to  the  student  of  literature  is  a  collection  printed  in  the 
Revista  de  Derecho,  Historia  y  Letras,  in  1898  and  the 
following  years  with  the  title  Cancionero  popular.  A 
characteristic  of  style,  common  to  all  the  poems,  a  sup- 
posed embellishment^  but  to  modem  taste  a  grave  dis- 
figurement, is  the  introduction  of  classical  allusions  or  a 


mythological  machinery,  Greek  gods  in  South  America, 
a  last  sigh  of  Gongorism. 

The  mythological  machinery  was  even  more  in  evidence 
in  plays  of  the  period.  The  desire  for  dramatic  enter- 
tainment excited  by  the  recitation  of  patriotic  verses  was 
satisfied  by  the  organization  of  a  society,  "La  Sociedad 
del  Buen  Gusto,"  for  the  purpose  of  fostering  the  drama. 
The  first  meeting  was  held  in  July,  1817.  Among  the 
twenty-eight  members  were  Lopez  y  Planes,  De  I^uca, 
and  the  Chilean  refugee  Camilojienriquez.  Colonel  Juan 
Ramon  Rojas  was  the  managing  director.  The  plays 
produced  were  either  originals  by  the  members  of  the 
society  or  translations  from  French  or  English  because 
the  director  pushed  his  patriotism  to  the  extreme  of  re- 
fusing to  admit  to  the  stage  plays  written  by  Spaniards. 
Rojas  himself  wrote  the  first  drama  given,  Cornelia  Beror- 
quia,  a  tragedy  of  a  young  innocent  girl  condemned  by 
the  full  tribunal  of  the  inquisition.  The  scandal  in  Buenos 
Aires  was  tremendous.  One  lady  who  attended  when 
asked  about  the  play,  said, — "To-night  we  cannot  doubt 
that  San  Martin  has  passed  the  Andes  and  triumphed 
over  the  Spaniards  in  Chile." 

Camilo  Henriquez  contributed  his  Camila  0  la  patriota 
de  Sud  America.  As  this  play  was  printed  in  a  little  vol- 
ume, now  a  bibliographical  rarity,  it  is  possible  to  learn 
much  about  the  sentiments  and  ideas  of  the  period.  The 
action  of  the  drama  takes  place  on  the  banks  of  the  river 
Marafion  a  few  months  after  the  slaughter  of  the  patriots 
of  Quito.  A  family  has  fallen  into  the  hands  of  an  Indian 
chief  who  declares  that  the  daughter  Camila  must  become 
the  bride  of  his  prime  minister.     Camila  objects  because 


she  holds  dear  the  memory  of  her  husband  Diego,  one 
of  the  patriots  fallen  as  she  supposes  by  the  hand  of  Span- 
ish murderers.  The  cacique  insists  on  the  marriage. 
When  the  so-called  prime  minister  is  presented,  the  whole 
affair  proves  to  be  a  huge  joke  for  the  prime  minister  is 
no  other  than  Diego.  The  chief  purpose  of  the  drama  is 
to  serve  as  a  vehicle  for  Henriquez'  ideas  on  education 
and  tolerance  in  religion.  He  praises  the  Lancaster  method 
of  instruction  as  obviously  advantageous.  He  lauds  the 
industry  and  righteousness  of  the  Quakers  though  "the 
burners  hate  them  and  would  like  to  bum  them  all;  per- 
verse men  have  made  the  king  of  Spain  believe  that  the 
burners  are  the  pillars  of  his  throne."  A  paper  which 
the  cacique  hands  his  prime  minister  contains  Henriquez* 
own  program  for  the  welfare  of  South  America.  "First: 
to  remedy  the  depopulation  of  America  and  its  backward 
condition  in  arts  and  agriculture,  it  is  necessary  to  attract 
immigration  by  impartial,  tolerant  and  paternal  laws. 
Second:  if  America  does  not  forget  its  Spanish  prejudices 
and  adopt  more  liberal  principles,  it  will  never  escape 
from  the  rule  of  a  Spain  beyond  the  seas,  wretched  and 
obscure  as  European  Spain." 

Henriquez*  tolerant  religious  principles  were  to  bring 
him  the  wrath  of  the  clerical  party  after  his  return  to 
Chile.  When  his  friends  Bernardo  O'Higgins  and  De 
Vera  became  influential,  the  one  dictator,  the  other  his 
secretary,  they  started  a  movement  to  invite  Henriquez 
to  Chile  raising  funds  for  his  repatriation  by  popular 
subscription.  There  came  with  him  Juan  Crisostomo 
Lafinur  (i  797-1 824)  who  had  been  an  intimate  friend  and 
acquaintance   of  his   in    Buenos   Aires.     Together  they 


immediately  began  in  the  press  the  propaganda  of  their 
liberal  ideas.  But  their  attempts  at  reform  came  to 
naught  for  they  met  violent  opposition  from  the  clergy. 
The  latter  were  fortuitously  assisted  by  a  disastrous 
earthquake,  called  by  them  an  act  of  God,  a  demon- 
stration of  His  anger  at  the  impiety  of  the  men  encouraged 
by  the  dictator  O'Higgins. 

Lafinur  died  during  the  struggle  as  the  result  of  a  fall 
from  his  horse.  He  has  a  place  in  the  history  of  Argentine 
literature  by  reason  of  his  elegies  on  General  Belgrano  at 
the  time  of  the  latter's  death  in  1820.  Though  other 
specimens  of  his  verse  exist  the  three  elegies  so  exalt  the 
love  of  country  that  they  keep  alive  the  author's  name. 

Conditions  in  Buenos  Aires  about  1820  have  been 
disclosed  from  a  unique  point  of  view  in  the  dialogues  of 
Chano  y  Contreras  written  by  Bartolome  Hidalgo  (1787-?). 
Jacinto  Chano,  the  overseer  of  a  cattle  ranch,  converses 
with  his  friend  the  gaucho  Ramon  Contreras.  The  latter 
reviews  somewhat  pessimistically  the  advantages  gained 
by  the  revolution.  The  poor  still  remain  poor,  though  a 
few  men  in  power  are  able  to  "spend  money  like  rice." 
Chano  says  he  has  learned  that  before  the  law,  he  is  the 
equal  of  any  man.  "Yes,"  replies  Contreras,  "but  there 
are  difficulties  in  the  practice,"  and  relates  the  contrast 
in  the  punishment  of  a  rich  man  guilty  of  a  notorious 
crime  and  that  of  a  poor  gaucho  who  for  some  trivial 
offense  received  the  limit  of  the  law.  The  ironical  vein 
maintained  in  the  description  of  certain  civic  events  is 

Hidalgo's  poems  were  a  written  imitation  of  the  type  of 
improvisation  popular  throughout  Argentina.    The  custom 


brought  from  Andalusia  of  ballad  recitation  by  an  adept, 
or  "payador,"  who,  Hghtly  strumming  his  guitar,  begins 
to  improvise  in  eight  syllabled  lines  a  narrative  of  some 
recent  occurrence  with  original  comments  developed  more 
widely  on  the  pampas  than  elsewhere.  The  first  to 
imitate  in  writing  this  popular  poetry  was  J.  B.  Maziel 
in  a  ballad  praising  the  viceroy's  military  exploits.  Be- 
fore Hidalgo  it  was  used  by  Juan  Gualberto  Godoy 
(1 793-1 824)  for  political  purposes.  He  kept  a  store 
far  out  on  the  plains  where  he  is  said  to  have  sold  verses 
to  local  payadores  and  published  a  paper  El  Eco  de  los 
Andes  with  satirical  poems  in  gaucho  style.  But  Godoy*s 
work  remained  unknown  till  later  writers  made  the  gaucho 
type  of  verse  one  of  the  most  original  and  entertaining 
features  of  Argentine  literature. 

Despite  the  importance  of  the  victories  won  in  the  south 
by  San  Martin,  the  ultimate  independence  of  South 
America  was  due  to  the  assistance  which  came  to  him 
from  the  north.  In  large  measure  was  it  due  also  to 
San  Martin's  noble-minded  and  unselfish  patriotism,  rare 
in  Spanish-American  annals,  which  prompted  him  to  self- 
efFacement  when  that  seemed  the  best  course.  When  only 
his  own  withdrawal  from  the  scene  of  active  operations 
would  assure  the  i5articipation  of  Bolivar  and  his  troops 
in  destroying  the  Spanish  army  under  \the  viceroy  La 
Sema,  the  generous  San  Martin  stood  aside  and  even 
exiled  himself  from  America. 

Simon  Bolivar  (i  783-1 830)  was  the  greatest  military 
and  political  genius  which  the  revolution  in  Spanish 
America  produced.  Though  a  wealthy  landowner,  he 
made  common  cause  with  the  uprising  in  Caracas,  Vene- 


zuela,  in  April,  1810.  Bolivar,  Luis  Lopez  Mendez,  and 
Andres  Bello  were  despatched  as  commissioners  to  se- 
cure the  sympathy  and  material  aid  of  Great  Britain. 
Bolivar's  stay  was  short  for  he  returned  to  Venezuela  to 
serve  in  the  army  of  General  Miranda  which  was  de- 
fending the  country  from  the  Spanish  forces.  The  latter 
were  successful  in  putting  down  the  rebellion.  Bolivar 
fled  while  Miranda  was  taken  prisoner  and  sent  to  Spain. 
Bolivar  then  organized  another  army  in  Nueva  Granada 
and  fought  his  way  to  Caracas  which  he  entered  on  Au- 
gust 4th,  1 8 13.  The  Spaniards,  however,  again  won  the 
upper  hand.  In  the  bloody  guerilla  warfare  which  fol- 
lowed, the  patriots  accomplished  little  for  several  years. 
In  1 8 19,  however,  a  foreign  legion  of  2000  trained  soldiers, 
mostly  Irishmen,  joined  Bolivar.  He  learned  that  the 
Spanish  soldiers  in  Bogota  were  to  march  to  join  those 
in  Venezuela.  By  a  brilliant  manoeuvre,  Bolivar  led  his 
men  over  the  windswept  lofty  paramo  and  effected  a 
union  with  the  patriot  army  of  Nueva  Granada.  He  gave 
battle  to  the  Spaniards  at  Boyaca  on  August  7th,  18 19, 
and  destroyed  their  army.  After  his  return  to  Venezuela 
Bolivar  brought  about  the  passage  of  a  law  by  the  revolu- 
tionary legislature  erecting  Venezuela  and  Nueva  Granada 
into  the  Republic  of  Colombia  of  which  he  was  to  be  presi- 
dent. Turning  then  his  attention  to  the  Spanish  forces  re- 
maining in  Venezuela,  he  broke  them  at  the  battle  of 
Carabobo,  June  24th,  1821.  There  now  remained  in  South 
America  only  that  Spanish  army  which  had  retreated  from 
Lima  at  the  approach  of  San  Martin's  forces. 

Bolivar  marched  south  by  way  of  Popayan.    Successful 
in  taking  Quito  in  June,  1822,  he  added  that  province  to 



his  new  Republic  of  Colombia.  The  next  month  there 
took  place  in  Guayaquil  a  famous  conference  lasting 
three  days  between  Bolivar  and  San  Martin.  The  details 
of  this  meeting  have  remained  forever  secret.  But  a 
letter  written  a  month  later  by  San  Martin  to  Bolivar 
allows  one  to  infer  the  reasons  for  San  Martin's  subse- 
quent conduct.  In  it  he  says, — "My  determination  is 
irrevocably  fixed.  I  have  called  the  first  Congress  of 
Peru  for  the  20th  of  next  month,  and  on  the  day  after 
its  opening  I  shall  sail  for  Chile,  convinced  that  my  pres- 
ence is  the  only  obstacle  which  prevents  your  coming  to 
Peru  with  the  army  under  your  command."  San  Martin 
evidently  foresaw  a  civil  war  unless  he  gave  way  before 
Bolivar's  immense  personal  ambition. 

For  two  years  the  Spanish  army  avoided  contact.  On 
August  26th,  1824,  Bolivar  won  the  great  victory  of 
Junin.  But  the  final  surrender  of  the  Spaniards  was  not 
made  till  December  7th,  after  the  battle  of  Ayacucho, 
where  the  patriot  army  was  commanded  by  Antonio 
Jose  de  Sucre  (i  793-1 830).  The  next  summer  a  general 
assembly  of  Upper  Peru  met  and  declared  itself  the  Re- 
public of  Bolivia.  General  Sucre  was  elected  the  first 

Bolivar's  personal  fortunes  took  him  back  to  Caracas 
from  which  as  his  capital  he  attempted  to  administer  the 
Republic  of  Colombia.  Its  extent,  however,  was  so  vast 
and  its  parts  so  diverse  that  after  Bolivar's  death,  Sep- 
tember 17th,  1830,  it  split  up  into  the  three  republics, 
Venezuela,  Ecuador,  and  Nueva  Granada.  The  latter 
reassumed  the  same  name  Colombia  in  1861. 
-\  Just  as  Bolivar's  greatest  campaign  against  the  Span** 



iards  took  place  in  Peru,  so  it  was  reserved  for  a  native 
of  a  Peruvian  province,  now  a  part  of  Ecuador,  to  com- 
pose the  most  remarkable  poem  written  about  his  mili- 
tary success.  So  excellent  is  the  classical  finish  of  its  style 
that  the  Spanish  critic  Menendez  y  Pelayo  refers  to  Jose 
Joaquin  Olmedo  (i 780-1 847)  as,  "one  of  the  three  or 
four  great  Spanish-American  poets,  if  not  the  first." 

Bolivar  requested  Olmedo  to  write  some  verses  in  cele- 
bration of  the  battles  of  Junin  and  Ayacucho.  In  the 
general's  correspondence  is  found  a  long  letter  from 
Olmedo  dated  January  31st,  1825,  in  which  the  poet 
says: — "I  regret  that  you  recommend  me  to  sing  our 
last  triumphs.  For  a  long  time  I  have  been  revolving 
that  thought  in  my  mind.  Junin  came  and  I  began  my 
song;  I  should  say  I  began  to  form  plans.  .  .  .  Ayacucho 
came  and  I  awoke  uttering  a  thunder,  (Olmedo  here  al- 
ludes to  the  opening  Hnes  of  his  ode)  but  I  have  made 
little  progress.  Everything  I  produce  seems  poor  and 
inferior  to  the  subject,  I  erase,  tear  up,  correct;  and 
always  it  is  bad.  I  have  persuaded  myself  that  my  muse 
cannot  measure  her  strength  with  this  giant.  I  was 
proud  because  I  expected  to  make  a  composition  which 
would  bear  me  with  you  to  immortality  but  I  confess 
myself  downcast." 

Olmedo  did  win  by  his  ode  the  immortality  which  he 
craved.    Its  opening  peal  of  thunder, 

El  trueno  horrendo,  que  en  fragor  revienta 

Y  sordo  retumbando  se  dilata 

For  la  inflamada  esfera, 

Al  Dios  anuncia  que  en  el  cielo  impera, 

IS  an  evident  paraphrase  of  Horace's, 


Caelo  tonantem  credidimus  lovem  regnare:  III,  5. 
The  poet  then  sees  and  describes  the  leaders  as  the  battle 
begins.  Suddenly  the  sword  of  Bolivar  appears  and 
eclipses  all  the  warriors  as  the  sun  eclipses  all  the  stars. 
Darkness  comes  on  before  the  victory  is  complete;  while 
the  soldiers  are  singing  hymns  of  triumph,  a  voice  calls 
from  on  high  in  the  heavens,  the  voice  of  the  Inca, 
Huaina-Capac.  They  behold  his  illuminated  figure  as  he 
reveals  his  personality.  After  recapitulating  the  horrors 
that  had  occurred  on  American  soil  since  the  conquest,  he 
discloses  the  progress  of  the  next  fight  at  Ayacucho,  de- 
scribes the  place  of  the  battle  and  names  the  patriots  who 
will  distinguish  themselves,  especially  the  leader  Sucre. 

In  regard  to  him  Olmedo  wrote,  "Sucre  is  a  hero,  is 
my  friend  and  deserves  an  ode  for  himself;  at  present 
enough  immortality  will  fall  to  his  share  by  being  named 
in  an  ode  dedicated  to  Bolivar." 

The  Inca  continues  by  praising  the  new  era  of  peace 
and  prosperity  that  stands  before,  but  urges  on  the  Amer- 
icans the  necessity  of  union  "in  order  to  be  free  and  never 
conquered."  He  is  interrupted  by  the  virgins  of  the  sun 
who  intone  a  hymn  beseeching  the  continued  protection 
of  the  sun  as  the  ancient  god  of  Peru.  On  the  city  of 
Lima  the  virgins  make  demand  that  she  open  her  gates 
and  receive  Bolivar  in  triumph.  At  the  close  of  the  song 
the  Inca  and  the  virgins  disappear  behind  a  golden  cloud. 

As  Bolivar  was  not  himself  present  at  the  final  victory 
the  poet  was  obliged  to  connect  the  two  battles  in  a 
manner  that  would  not  lessen  the  importance  of  Bolivar. 
Yet  the  means  chosen,  the  apparition  of  the  Inca,  has 
raised  a  veritable  critics'  battle.     Bolivar  himself  called 


Hualna-Capac  "the  hero  of  the  poem."  Bello  praises 
the  poetical  device,  while  Miguel  A.  Caro  ridicules  the 
words  of  the  Inca  who  exclaims  to  the  assembled  patriots, 
"You  are  all  my  children,"  and  his  offer  to  Bolivar  as  a 
reward  a  place  in  heaven  at  his  own  right  hand.  But 
Manuel  Caiiete  sums  up  the  criticisms  justly.  "We  see 
Olmedo  rise  to  the  clouds  borne  by  inspiration  and  find 
accents,  if  not  superior  to  all,  not  inferior  to  any  of  our 
best  lyric  poets,  whenever  he  exclaims  what  has  stirred 
his  heart.  But  he  falls  when  he  leaves  the  luminous 
sphere  of  truth  and  sinks  into  the  labyrinth  of  the  arti- 
ficial. The  reader,  however,  forgets  the  defects  of  the 
poem,  thanks  to  the  animation,  the  movement,  the  sublime 
inspiration  with  which  the  author  has  succeeded  in  ex- 
pressing and  developing  the  idea." 

The  Liberator  was  evidently  satisfied  with  Olmedo's 
poem  for  he  named  him  plenipotentiary  of  Peru  in  London, 
for  which  city  he  left  Guayaquil  on  August  5,  1825. 
Canete  thinks  it  is  unjust  to  Olmedo  to  attribute  his  ap- 
pointment entirely  to  the  poem,  because  Bolivar  was  a 
good  judge  of  men  and  he  needed  a  superior  person  for 
the  mission. 

The  next  year  Olmedo  published  the  poem  in  London 
and  Paris,  with  the  title  La  Victoria  de  Junin,  Canto  a 
Bolivar,  In  regard  to  it,  Olmedo  wrote  to  Bolivar:  "The 
canto  is  being  printed  with  great  elegance.  It  bears 
the  portrait  of  the  hero;  and  a  medallion  representing  the 
apparition  and  oracle  of  the  Inca  in  the  clouds.  The 
canto  needs  all  these  externals  in  order  to  appear  decently 
among  foreign  peoples."  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the 
plates  of  the  Paris  edition  are  in  color  and  that  the  por- 


trait  of  Bolivar  which  Olmedo  termed  "medianamente 
parecido"  is  the  one  which  has  been  most  widely  repro- 

Olmedo's  sojourn  in  EurOpe^as  divided  between  Lon- 
don and  Paris.  He  thus  came  into  close  intercourse  with 
Andres  Bello  and  Fernandez  Madrid  and  his  correspond- 
ence with  them  has  been  preserved.  The  former  pub- 
lished in  the  second  volume  of  the  Repertorio  Americano, 
Olmedo's  poem,  A  un  amigo  en  el  nacimiento  de  su  primo- 
genito,  as  well  as  a  critical  notice  by  himself  on  the  Vic^ 
toria  de  Junin. 

Olmedo  did  not,  however,  long  remain  in  Europe.  An 
intense  love  for  his  native  province  of  Guayaquil  charac- 
terized the  man  and  greatly  influenced  the  course  of  his 
life.  As  a  student  he  lived  in  Lima  where  he  obtained  the 
degree  of  doctor  of  law.  In  1810,  he  went  to  Spain  to 
represent  Guayaquil  in  the  Cortes  of  Cadiz  and  was  one 
of  the  members  who  refused  to  recognize  Fernando  VII 
until  he  swore  to  the  constitution.  Returning  to  his  own 
country  in  18 14  he  took  an  active  part  in  political  affairs 
and  was  elected  to  the  Peruvian  constitutional  congress 
of  1822  in  which  he  advocated  a  separate  establishment 
for  the  provinces  now  known  as  Ecuador.  Therein  he 
was  an  opponent  of  Bolivar,  but  the  Liberator's  great  vic- 
tories turned  him  into  an  ardent  admirer.  Sent  to  Europe 
in  1825,  he  returned  in  1828.  Ecuador  became  a  separate 
republic  in  1830  and  Olmedo  was  elected  its  first  vice- 
president,  an  office  which  he  soon  resigned  in  order  to 
become  prefect  of  Guayaquil  as  he  desired  to  live  in  that 
city.  He  continued  active  in  politics  until  his  death  in 


His  poems  are  few  in  number  for  the  reason  that  he 
wrote  only  when  he  felt  inspired  and  took  great  care  in 
their  rhetorical  finish.  Amunategui  enumerates  four 
translations  and  ten  original  compositions.  Of  the  former 
the  most  important  is  a  rendering  of  the  first  three  epistles 
of  Pope*s  Essay  on  Man.  His  first  original  poem  is  a 
Silva  a  la  muerte  de  Maria  Antonia  de  Borhon,  princesa 
de  Asturias,  published  in  Lima,  1807.  The  poet  repre- 
sents the  innocent  princess  as  an  expiatory  victim  chosen 
by  God  who  is  angry  at  the  sins  of  the  Spaniards.  As 
God  accepts  the  sacrifice,  the  poet  urges  his  avenging 
angel  to  announce  that  God's  wrath  has  been  appeased 
and  that  the  English  who  were  preparing  to  attack  Buenos 
Aires  would  be  overthrown.  As  a  note  to  this  composi- 
tion, Olmedo  wrote:  "Two  months  after  this  composi- 
tion was  written,  ten  thousand  English  attack  the  city 
of  Buenos  Aires  and  are  beaten  and  obliged  to  surrender 
by  its  inhabitants.'* 

His  poem  Mi  retrato,  18 17,  gives  us  the  portrait  of  a 
tall  thin  man  with  brown  hair  and  eyes,  a  broad  forehead, 
a  large  nose  of  which  he  is  proud  because  therein  he  re- 
sembles the  poets  Virgil,  Homer  and  Ovid,  fine  even  teeth, 
a  thin  beard  and  a  face  much  pitted  from  small-pox  like 
the  sky  with  the  stars.  His  acquaintances  describe  him 
as  agreeable  in  character  with  a  large  fund  of  knowledge 
which  Olmedo  himself  ascribed  to  his  own  efforts  rather 
than  to  his  schooling. 

The  grandiloquent  rhetoric  of  the  Victoria  de  Junin 
was  repeated  in  a  poem  which  Olmedo  composed  in  1835 
to  General  FloreSy  Vencedor  en  Minarica.  As  sheer  rhetoric 
there  are  passages  which  are  very  fine,  for  example,  the 


spirited  description  of  the  General's  horse.  As  the  sub- 
ject of  the  poem  is  the  victory  of  a  partisan  chief,  the 
Hnes  often  strike  the  reader  as  bombast,  especially  when 
the  poet  urges  the  lofty  peak  of  Chimborazo,  king  of  the 
Andes,  to  bow  his  head  because  the  victor  passes. 

Juan  Jose  Flores  (1801-64)  was  not  to  be  outdone  in 
compliments.  He  also  dabbled  in  verse-making  and  be- 
gins his  Ocios  poeticos  with  the  line, 

i  Que  vida  tan  feliz,  Omero  mio! 

He  stars  Omero  and  explains  in  a  footnote:  "Allusion  to 
Olmedo,  wherefore  the  H  is  suppressed." 

Another  poet  to  hail  Bolivar's  victories  as  worthy  of 
great  renown  was  the  Colombian  Jose  Fernandez  Madrid 
(i 784-1 830),  already  referred  to  as  one  of  Olmedo's 
friends  in  Europe.  Some  suspect  that  Fernandez  Madrid 
also  owed  his  appointment  as  Colombia's  minister  plen- 
ipotentiary in  London  to  his  laudatory  verses  in  which 
within  the  space  of  ten  lines  he  compared  Bolivar  to  all 
the  great  men  of  antiquity.  In  another  passage  the 
Peruvian  Incas,  raising  their  heads  from  the  tomb,  joy- 
fully salute  three  times  the  great  champion,  while  the 
volcanoes  Pichincha  and  Chimborazo  roar  with  indigna- 
tion at  the  oppressors  of  America.  Such  hyperbolical 
exaggeration  reveals  the  spirit  of  the  times. 

Fernandez  Madrid  played  an  important  role  in  the 
revolution  in  Colombia.  A  member  of  the  first  revolu- 
tionary junta  organized  in  Cartagena  de  las  Indias,  18 10, 
he  became  the  leader  of  the  defense  when  the  city  was 
besieged  by  the  Spaniards.  He  was  also  a  member  of  the 
united  provinces  of  Venezuela  and  Nueva  Granada  and 


was  named  as  their  president  in  1816  during  the  lowest 
ebb  of  their  military  fortunes.  Falling  into  the  hands  of 
the  Spanish  forces,  he  saved  his  life  by  writing  to  the 
Spanish  general  Morillo  that  he  had  accepted  the  pres- 
idency only  in  the  king's  interest.  He  was  ordered  de- 
ported to  Spain  but,  on  account  of  illness,  he  never  went 
beyond  Havana,  where  he  was  soon  set  at  liberty.  After 
Bolivar's  successful  campaigns,  Fernandez  Madrid  again 
became  prominent  in  politics.  As  confidential  agent  of  the 
republic  of  Colombia  he  was  in  Parts  at  the  time  of  his 
appointment  to  be  her  minister  in  London. 

In  this  city  he  published  a  volume  of  his  verses,  1828, 
and  two  dramas,  Atala,  based  on  Chateaubriand's  romance 
of  that  name,  and  Guatimoc.  These  plays  are  specimens  of 
the  enthusiastic  attempt  at  play  writing  which  flourished 
in  Bogota  during  the  revolution.  Fernandez  Madrid,  as 
a  versifier  on  occasional  topics,  is  fluent  and  amusing. 
"Hail,  doubly  hail,  him  who  invented  the  hammock," 
he  cries  in  the  refrain  to  some  stanzas  in  which  he  sings  the 
advantages  of  that  blessing  to  humanity.  To  his  friend 
Andres  Bello,  he  sends  some  playful  lines  to  accompany  a 
bottle  of  wine,  "a  dose  of  joy,"  at  the  baptism  of  the  lat- 
ter's  infant  daughter.  As  a  patriotic  poet  Fernandez 
Madrid  obtains  a  certain  forcefulness  by  the  use  of  ep- 
igrammatic balance.  He  sees  Colombia  rise  from  her 
wounds,  "majestic,  full  of  wounds,  but  victorious;  poor 
but  avenged,  and  independent."  Though  he  execrates  the 
Spaniards  for  their  crimes,  yet  he  recognizes  them  as 
brothers  in  blood  afid  urges  a  spiritual  union  between 
"the  Hispanic  lion  and  the  American  condor." 

Two  other  Colombians  who  produced  patriotic  verses 


worthy  of  mention  were  Jose  Maria  de  Salazar  (1785- 
1828)  and  Luis  Vargas  Tejada  (1802-29).  Salazar 
first  exercised  his  poetic  talents  in  El  Placer  publico  de 
Santa  Fe  de  Bogota^  a.  complimentary  poem  to  celebrate 
the  arrival  of  the  viceroy  in  1804.  In  his  student  days  he 
was  one  of  the  first  to  write  original  pieces  actually  pro- 
duced on  the  stage  in  Bogota.  His  Soliloquio  de  Eneas 
and  El  Sacrificio  de  Idomeneo  materially  assisted  in  the 
movement  to  restore  the  theater  in  that  capital.  Joining 
the  revolutionary  movement  he  became  conspicuous  as 
the  author  of  the  first  national  hymn  of  Colombia.  Boli- 
var's victory  at  Boyaca  called  forth  some  stirring  lines 
from  his  pen,  for  which  Bolivar  later  rewarded  him  by  ap- 
pointment as  the  Colombian  minister  in  Paris. 

Luis  Vargas  Tejada  was  called  by  his  fellow  country- 
men their  Andre  Chenier  on  account  of  the  violence  of  his 
sentiments  on  liberty.  These  were  expressed  in  tragedies 
written  for  the  stage  in  Bogota  and  especially  in  the  tragic 
monologues  Caton  en  Utica  and  La  Muerte  de  Pausanias. 
The  youthful  poet  thought  to  turn  his  fanatic  politics 
into  action  by  joining  a  conspiracy  to  assassinate  Bolivar. 
He  escaped  the  fate  of  his  fellow  conspirators  by  hiding 
in  a  cave  for  fourteen  months.  As  he  died  insane  from  this 
experience  a  tragic  interest  was  added  to  his  poetical  work. 

Though  Bolivar's  exploits  inspired  so  many  patriotic 
lines,  yet  in  his  own  country,  Venezuela,  there  was  little 
literary  response  to  them.  In  fact  conditions  there  were 
distinctly  unfavorable  to  literary  enterprise.  Not  only 
was  the  capital  Caracas  frequently  the  headquarters  of 
the  Spanish  army,  but  the  war  was  waged  with  absorbing 
and  merciless  bitterness  throughout  the  country.     Ven- 


ezuela  was,  however,  the  birthplace  of  the  greatest  of  all 
Spanish-American  literary  men,  Andres  Bello  (1781-1865). 
But  the  scene  of  his  activity  during  the  revolutionary 
epoch  was  London,  far  from  the  strife  of  arms. 

Bello,  from  that  viewpoint,  was  more  largely  interested 
in  Spanish  America  as  a  whole.  After  the  American  re- 
publics had  been  firmly  established  he  was  invited  to  Chile, 
where  his  influence  on  matters  of  education  and  literature 
became  tremendous.  It  seems  almost  as  if  he  led  the  lives 
of  two  different  men.  In  London  to  the  age  of  forty-eight 
he  eked  out  a  narrow  existence,  always  studying  as  though 
at  school.  In  Chile  for  thirty-five  years  more  he  poured 
forth  his  accumulated  wisdom  for  the  benefit  of  the  sons  of 
his  adopted  country.  The  first  period  of  Bello's  life  em- 
^  braced  the  epoch  of  the  separation  of  the  Spanish  colonies 
from  Spain;  the  second  their  first  efforts  at  the  upbuilding 
of  new  nationalities. 

Largely  self-taught,  the  course  of  Bello's  life  is  fore- 
shadowed by  his  youth.  He  was  both  a  precocious  child 
and  a  constant  reader.  At  the  age  of  eleven  he  saved  his 
pennies  to  buy  a  cheap  edition  issued  in  parts  of  Calder6n*s 
plays.  At  school  he  distinguished  himself  in  Latin.  He 
made  there  the  acquaintance  of  friends  who  were  to  assist 
him  in  getting  a  start  in  life,  especially  the  younger  sons  of 
the  Ustariz  family,  persons  of  wealth  and  culture.  In  their 
home  where  they  had  the  habit  of  reading  poems  aloud 
after  dinner,  Bello  found  inspiration  for  his  earliest  verses, 
certain  translations  or  paraphrases  of  Latin.  Urged  by  his 
friends  he  undertook  the  study  of  both  French  and  Eng- 
lish. For  the  latter  language  he  used  as  a  text-book, 
Locke's  Essay  on  the  Understanding. 


When  he  left  school  Luis  Ustariz  obtained  for  him  a 
position  in  the  government  office  as  undersecretary.  In 
1808  he  was  appointed  secretary.  As  it  was  his  task  to 
translate  the  French  and  English  letters,  it  fell  to  his  lot 
that  same  year  to  be  the  medium  through  which  the  news 
of  the  fall  of  Carlos  IV  became  known  in  Venezuela.  He 
also  played  a  part  in  the  events  which  led  to  the  uprising  in 
Caracas  on  April  19th,  18 10.  As  in  the  other  Spanish 
colotiies,  there  was  established  a  junta  or  committee  to 
govern  ostensibly  in  the  name  of  Fernando  VII.  The 
junta  sent  Bello  as  one  of  three  commissioners,  the  other 
two  were  Luis  Lopez  Mendez  and  Simon  Bolivar,  to 
London  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  assistance  for  the 
revolution.  But  they  received  little  encouragement  from 
the  British  cabinet. 

In  Venezuela  the  revolution  maintained  itself  until 
there  occurred  on  March  26th,  181 2,  a  severe  earthquake 
on  account  of  which  many  thousand  persons  in  Caracas 
lost  their  lives.  The  royalist  party,  assisted  by  the  priests 
who  spread  the  idea  that  this  event  was  God*s  punishment 
for  rebellion,  successfully  prosecuted  a  counter  revolution 
and  restored  Spanish  rule.  Bello  was  thus  left  stranded  in 
London  without  money.  Once  even  he  came  near  being 
put  in  jail  for  his  personal  debts.  Bolivar,  a  man  of  means, 
left  London  to  work  on  his  plans  for  the  military  accom- 
plishment of  independence  for  Venezuela.  But  Bello 
remained  in  London  for  nineteen  years. 

His  friends  aided  him  in  finding  means  of  support.  The 
Spanish  language  being  then  fashionable  in  London,  he 
obtained  many  private  pupils.  By  18 14  he  considered 
himself  able  to  marry.    His  most  influential  friend  at  this 


period  was  Jose  Blanco  White,  a  former  Spanish  priest  of 
Irish  parentage,  who  had  left  his  native  Seville  to  settle  in 
London.  He  introduced  Bello  to  Mr.  Hamilton,  Secretary 
of  State  for  India,  to  whose  children  he  became  tutor  in 
1816.  Among  his  English  friends  were  the  philosophers 
James  Mill  and  Jeremy  Bentham,  and  he  is  said  to  have 
been  employed  at  one  time  to  decipher  the  latter's  man- 
uscript. From  his  intercourse  with  them,  he  may  have 
derived  some  of  the  ideas  that  guided  his  scientific  studies. 
During  his  sojourn  in  London,  Bello  was  constantly 
studying.  First  he  learned  to  read  Greek  from  the  books 
in  the  library  of  an  English  friend.  His  leisure  time  he 
spent  in  the  library  of  the  British  Museum.  As  results 
\j  of  his  study  he  published  a  modern  Spanish  rendering  of 
the  Poema  del  Cid  with  accompanying  notes  and  a  study 
of  the  Cronique  de  Turpin.  Both  of  these  show  original 
and  sound  critical  thought.  Next  he  made  his  version 
of  Berni's  Orlando  Innamorato;  which  Menendez  y  Pelayo 
terms  the  best  translation  in  Spanish  of  any  long  Italian 
poem.  Moreover,  he  was  deeply  interested  in  educational 
questions  about  which  he  published  various  discussions  in 
the  Repertorio  Americano.  This  was  Bello's  contribution 
edited  in  company  with  the  Colombian  Garcia  del  Rio,  to 
the  various  periodicals  in  Spanish  which  appeared  in 
London  during  the  revolutionary  period. 

A  periodical  ja  Spanish,  El  Espanol,  had  been  founded 
in  London  by  Blanco  White  and  conducted  by  him  from 
1810  to  1814.  In  1820  the  Guatemalan,  A.  J.  de  Irisarri 
published  a  few  numbers  of  El  Censor  Americano  to 
which  Bello  contributed.  On  his  own  account  Bello 
began,  1823,  the  Biblioteca  Americana,  which  soon  sus- 


pended.  Money  to  pay  for  such  a  publication  even  though 
well  received  in  South  America  was  slow  and  difficult  to 

Undaunted,  however,  he  launched,  1826,  a  quarterly,  El 
Repertorio  Americano  and  continued  it  for  four  numbers. 
The  editor's  purpose  is  set  forth  in  the  first  volume.  "For 
years,  lovers  of  American  civilization  have  desired  the 
publication  of  a  periodical  which  would  defend  with  the 
interest  of  their  own  cause  the  independence  and  liberty 
of  the  new  states  established  in  that  new  world  upon  the 
ruins  of  Spanish  dominion."  The  contents  of  the  periodi- 
cal were,  however,  but  slightly  political.  They  comprised 
encyclopedic  information  on  such  topics  as  literary  criti- 
cism, the  orthography  of  the  Spanish  language,  agriculture, 
science  and  education.  Original  poems  formed  one  of  its 
attractive  features  and  here  were  first  published  Olmedo's 
poem.  En  el  nacimiento  de  su  primogenito  and  his  transla- 
tion of  Horace's  Ode  XIV.  Lib  I;  Garcia  Goyena's  Canto 
a  la  Independencia  de  Guatemala;  and  a  few  poems  of  the 
Mexican  Navarrete.  The  opening  pages  of  the  first 
number  contained  Bello's  own  masterpiece,  a  Silva  a  la 
Agricultura  de  la  Zona  torrida. 

Bello  had  conceived  the  idea  of  a  vast  poem-t©  be^n- 
titled  America.  Of  this  he  wrote  its  introduction,  Alocu- 
cion  a  la  Poesia,  and  the  Silva  just  mentioned.  The 
latter  puts  him  in  the  front  rank  of  American  poets  and 
admits  him  even  in  the  judgment  of  Menendez  y  Pelayo 
to  the  category  of  those  who  have  most  artistically  manip- 
ulated the  Spanish  language.  In  the  former  poem,  which 
first  appeared  in  the  Bihlioteca  Americana^  Bello  invites 
the  muses  to  leave  Europe  where  an  artificial  culture. 


based  on  the  power  of  gold,  reigns  preeminent  and  where 
nature  is  supreme  and  bestows  on  each  its  own  peculiar 
beauty  which  the  poet  describes.  In  the  silva  to  the 
Agricultura  de  la  Zona  torrida,  Bello  presents  the  varied 
beauty  of  the  tropics,  its  color,  its  rich  perfume,  the  rare 
products  of  its  cultivated  fields,  bounded  by  distant  snow- 
capped mountains,  and  finally  urges  the  possessors  of 
this  paradise  to  enjoy  it  in  peace  and  union. 

There  is  a  certain  resemblance  between  the  two  poems; 
the  lists  of  plants  and  their  epithets  are  almost  identical, 
and  an  occasional  line  of  the  earlier  is  repeated  in  the 
later  poem.  Besides  there  are  reminiscences  of  Virgil's 
Georgics.  While  Bellows  poetry  therein  resembles  other 
Spanish  classicists,  Menendez  y  Pelayo  finds  him  the 
possessor  of  an  original  note  "not  to  be  confused  with  any 
of  his  contemporaries.  ...  He  is  a  consummate  master 
of  poetic  diction,  learnedly  picturesque,  laboriously  pol- 
ished." His  picturesque  originality  consists  in  appeals  to 
the  senses  when  he  speaks  of  the  "snowy  fleece  of  the 
cotton,"  "the  white  jasmins  of  the  coffee,"  "the  living 
carmine  of  the  flowers,"  epithets  which  seem  to  the  critic 
to  give  a  "strange  flavor  both  Latin  and  American." 

Bellows  diplomatic  activity  continued  during  his  entire 
sojourn  in  London.  As  a  means  of  livelihood,  however, 
its  pecuniary  return  was  uncertain  even  after  the  revolu- 
tion was  successful.  In  1822  he  accepted  appointment  as 
secretary  for  the  legation  of  Chile,  a  place  which  he  re- 
signed in  November,  1824,  to  become  secretary  for  the 
legation  of  Colombia.  Just  before  accepting  this  position 
he  married  his  second  wife,  Isabella  Dunn. 

Though  his  old  friend  Bolivar  was  now  president  of 


Colombia,  Bello  still  received  only  a  meager  salary  in 
irregular  payments.  He  did  not  join  the  chorus  of  those 
who  wrote  fulsome  verses  to  the  Liberator,  a  fact  which 
the  latter  probably  resented,  for  there  exists  a  letter 
written  by  Bolivar  from  Quito  in  which  he  says  of  Bello : 
"His  coldness  has  kept  us  separated  to  a  certain  degree." 

The  truth  may  be  that  Bello's  long  residence  in  England, 
or  his  intellectual  pursuits  had  subdued  his  native  Vene- 
zuelan fire.  The  political  odes  which  he  wrote,  Himno  de 
Colombia  and  Cancion  a  la  Disolucion  de  Colombia,  lacked 
so  much  of  the  exaggerated  rhetorical  style  then  in  vogue, 
that  by  the  advice  of  his  friend,  Fernandez  Madrid,  they 
were  not  published.  The  same  chilliness  of  inspiration 
marks  the  ode,  Al  18  de  Septiembre,  by  which  he  signalized 
his  arrival  in  Chile. 

He  was  invited  to  Chile  by  President  Prieto  in  1829, 
who  offered  him  the  post  of  chief  secretary  for  foreign 
affairs  at  a  good  salary,  and  an  allowance  of  three  hundred 
pounds  for  traveling  expenses.  From  the  day  of  reaching 
Chile  Bello  became  closely  identified  with  the  intellectual 
movement  of  his  adopted  country,  so  that  his  career 
belongs  with  it  rather  than  with  his  native  Venezuela. 

As  the  representative  Venezuelan  writer  of  prose  during 
the  revolutionary  period,  it  is  necessary  to  look  to  Simon 
Bolivar,  however  strange  it  may  seem  to  think  of  the 
successful  general,  the  Liberator,  as  a  literary  man.  Yet 
in  his  speeches  and  his  voluminous  correspondence,  re- 
cently edited  by  R.  Blanco  Fombona,  he  reveals  an  ener- 
getic style  typical  of  the  man.  His  speeches  to  his  soldiers 
were  apparently  modeled  after  those  of  Napoleon  with 
whom  his  contemporaries  so  fondly  compared  him.     A 


fair  example  of  them  is  the  proclamation  issued  when  he 
returned  to  Bogota,  on  November  23rd,  1826: — "Colom- 
bians! Five  years  ago  I  left  this  capital  to  march  at  the 
head  of  the  liberating  army  from  the  banks  of  the  Cauca 
to  the  silver-bearing  heights  of  Potosi.  A  million  Colom- 
bians, two  sister  republics,  have  obtained  independence 
in  the  shadow  of  our  banners.  And  the  world  of  Columbus 
has  ceased  to  be  Spanish.    Such  has  been  our  absence." 



In  North  America  the  course  of  the  revolution  was 
different  from  that  on  the  southern  continent.  Of  the  two 
principal  centers,  Mexico  and  Cuba,  the  former  emerged 
from  the  period  as  an  independent  repubHc,  while  the 
latter  became  a  refuge  for  royalists.  Moreover  the  Mex- 
ican revolution,  unlike  those  occurring  in  South  America, 
did  not  begin  in  the  capital  but  in  the  provinces,  and  in- 
stead of  originating  with  an  intellectual  class  who  fed  its 
fires  with  argument  and  impassioned  verse,  the  first  out- 
break in  Mexico  was  the  affair  of  provincials,  many  of 
them  of  pure  Indian  blood,  led  by  a  rural  priest,  Miguel 
Hidalgo.  The  literary  expression  of  events  was  subsequent 
to  them  by  many  years.  On  the  other  hand,  the  greatest 
revolutionary  poet,  Jose  Maria  Heredia,  whose  unsur- 
passed verses  were  filled  with  burning  inspiration  and 
revolt,  was  a  Cuban.  In  his  country  there  took  place 
nothing  more  than  a  mild  conspiracy,  easily  suppressed, 
in  which  the  poet  was  himself  implicated.  But  Heredia 
during  the  impressionable  years  of  youth  lived  and  wrote 
in  Mexico. 

During  the  first  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century  there 
acted  as  viceroys  of  Mexico  a  succession  of  incompetent 
men  whose  chief  aim  in  governing  appeared  to  be  the  rapid 



accumulation  of  personal  wealth.  Resentment  at  their 
measures  of  taxation  caused  the  formation  of  conspiracies 
in  various  parts  of  the  country,  especially  after  the  home 
difficulties  of  Spain  became  known.  One  of  these  con- 
spiracies was  led  by  Ignacio  Allende  who  organized  military 
forces  in  various  towns  assisted  by  the  counsel  and  in- 
fluence of  Miguel  Hidalgo,  parish  priest  of  the  village 
Dolores  in  the  mining  region  of  Guanajuato.  Before  their 
preparations  were  completed,  Allende  learning  that  their 
plans  had  been  betrayed  to  the  authorities,  so  informed 
Hidalgo  late  one  night.  Undismayed,  the  latter  replied, 
"We  must  act  at  once,  there  is  no  time  to  lose."  The 
next  morning,  September  i6th,  1810,  a  Sunday,  Hidalgo, 
instead  of  conducting  the  usual  service,  harangued  the 
men  of  the  village  from  the  church  steps  and  bade  them 
follow  him  to  liberty.  This  was  the  famous  "Grito  de 
Dolores,"  the  cry  to  arms,  from  which  dates  the  revolution 
in  Mexico.  The  i6th  of  September  is  celebrated  as  the 
Mexican  national  holiday. 

Hidalgo's  little  band  steadily  increased  in  numbers  as 
they  marched  from  village  to  village.  A  picture  of  Nuestra 
Seiiora  de  Guadelupe  served  as  a  banner  under  which  to 
rally.  In  a  week  a  horde  of  fifty  thousand  men,  mainly 
Indians,  armed  with  improvised  weapons  and  a  few  mus- 
kets, had  assembled.  Their  first  objective  was  the  city  of 
Guanajuato,  a  mining  center,  where  in  a  strong  warehouse 
of  stone,  known  as  the  "alhondiga  de  granaditas,"  was 
stored  bullion  to  the  value  of  3S,ooo,ooo.  The  place  was 
defended  by  five  hundred  Spanish  troops.  Though  their 
musketry  caused  great  slaughter  in  the  assaulting  mob 
crowded  in  the  narrow  streets,  they  were  forced  to  yield 



by  the  disparity  in  numbers.  That  night  the  town  itself 
suffered  pillage  and  burning  such  as  has  always  marked 
revolutions  in  Mexico. 

Then  Hidalgo  took  up  his  march  on  the  capital.  The 
viceroy  Venegas  hastily  collected  such  troops  as  he  could. 
In  the  first  encounters  the  royalist  soldiers  were  defeated, 
but  Hidalgo,  being  no  soldier  and  his  army  a  mob,  was 
unable  to  take  advantage  of  his  successes.  Instead  of 
advancing  steadily  on  Mexico  city,  he  discouraged  his 
forces  by  turning  back.  He  occupied  his  time  by  trying 
to  establish  an  organized  government.  He  issued  proc- 
lamations emancipating  the  slaves,  restoring  the  land  to 
the  Indians,  and  calling  a  congress. 

The  royalist  troops  meanwhile  were  put  under  the 
command  of  Felix  Calleja  del  Rey,  an  efficient  soldier, 
who  for  his  successes  was  later  appointed  viceroy.  Cal- 
leja*s  army  came  into  contact  with  Hidalgo's  mob  on 
January  17th,  181 1,  at  the  bridge  of  Calderon,  where, 
favored  by  an  extraordinary  piece  of  luck,  for  the  dry 
grass  taking  fire  the  flames  and  smoke  were  driven  into 
the  faces  of  the  insurgents,  Calleja  completely  routed  the 
hosts  of  his  opponents.  A  month  later  Allende  and 
Hidalgo  were  taken  prisoners,  and  after  a  formal  trial  were 

The  direction  of  the  rebellion  fell  to  a  friend  and  pupil 
of  Hidalgo,  also  a  priest  and  a  younger  man  with  a  greater 
capacity  for  leadership,  Jose  Maria  Morelos.  He  kept  the 
field  against  the  royalists  until  1815  when  he  too  was  cap- 
tured and  executed.  Among  the  exploits  of  these  four 
years,  one  of  the  most  famous  was  the  defense  of  the  city 
of  Cuautla,  from  which  after  several  months  of  siege,  he 


and  his  forces  succeeded  in  escaping.  Morelos  also  carried 
out  important  plans  for  the  organization  of  an  insurgent 
government.  A  national  congress  was  assembled  which 
drew  up  a  written  constitution  for  Mexico.  After  Morelos' 
death  the  insurgents  became  mere  marauding  bands  which 
were  gradually  hunted  down. 

In  1820  occurred  in  Spain  the  revolutionary  movement 
making  the  liberal  Cortes  temporarily  supreme.  In 
Mexico  the  privileged  classes  of  the  city  felt  that  the  time 
had  come  for  seeking  independence.  As  military  leader 
was  selected  Agustin  de  Iturbide.  who  had  been  one  of  the 
most  active  generals  in  the  campaign  against  Morelos. 
Under  pretense  of  putting  down  a  rebel  band  then  vigorous 
under  Vicente^uerrero,  he  left  the  city  with  a  few  thou- 
sand soldiers  which  were  later  increased  in  number  by 
the  unsuspecting  viceroy.  At  the  proper  moment  JLuir- 
bide.  divulged  to  his  troops  his  real  intentions  in  which 
they  acquiesced.  On  February  24th,  1821,  he  promul- 
gated a  manifesto,  since  known  as  the  "Plan  de  Iguala.'* 
/  It  declared  for  the  absolute  independence  of  Mexico, 
the  Roman  Catholic  faith  as  the  state  religion,  an  absolute 
monarchy  as  the  form  of  government  with  a  member  of 
the  Spanish  royal  family  for  ruler,  the  maintenance  of  all 
existing  institutions  of  property  and  privileges,  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  junta  to  rule  until  the  selection  of  a  monarch 
and  the  support  of  the  three  guarantees  of  Independence, 
Religion,  and  Unity,  symbolized  respectively  in  the  na- 
tional colors,  green,  white,  and  red. 

This  revolution  was  entirely  aristocratic  and  reactionary 
against  the  liberal  tendencies  at  work  in  Spain.  The 
privileged  classes  in  Mexico  were  afraid  of  interference 


with  their  rights  by  the  democratic  Spanish  Cortes  which 
had  won  the  upper  hand  in  the  contest  with  the  King 
Fernando  VII.  Some  Mexicans  even  proposed  inviting 
the  King  to  become  Emperor  of  Mexico. 

In  consequence  of  the  origin  and  character  of  the  revo- 
lution, Iturbide  met  with  Httle  resistance.  The  garrisons 
of  the  provincial  towns  joined  his  forces.  The  main  body 
of  insurgents  led  by  Guerrero  agreed  to  the  plan  and  the 
whole  army  entered  Mexico  city.  A  little  later  when  a 
new  viceroy  Juan  O'Donaju,  sent  by  the  Cortes,  arrived, 
he  found  no  soldiers  to  assist  him.  So  he  signed  a  treaty, 
for  which  the  Cortes  had  given  him  authority,  acknowledg- 
ing the  independence  of  Mexico.  It  is  interesting  to  note 
that  in  this  treaty  of  Cordova,  signed  in  August,  1821, 
occurs  the  first  instance  of  the  use  of  the  name  Mexico  to 
designate  officially  the  whole  country  which  the  Spaniards 
from  the  time  of  its  discovery  had  called  Nueva  Espafia. 

For  a  few  months  Mexico  was  governed  by  the  junta 
presided  over  by  Iturbide.  Then  in  February  of  1822, 
the  latter  by  a  coup  d'etat  caused  himself  to  be  proclaimed 
Emperor  of  Mexico.  The  costly  magnificence  with  which 
he  set  up  his  court  and  his  various  pretensions  made  him 
ridiculous  and  distrusted.  It  was  not  long  before  he  was 
deposed  and  banished.  The  Mexican  Congress  estab- 
lished a  federal  republic  of  which  Guadelupe  Victoria, 
one  of  the  leaders  in  Morelos'  army,  was  elected  the  first 
president.  A  sentence  of  death  was  passed  on  Iturbide 
in  case  he  should  return  to  Mexico.  The  latter,  apparently 
unaware  of  this  decree,  did  land  there  in  July,  1824,  and 
in  three  days  was  shot  without  a  trial. 

About  Iturbide  and  his  fortunes  clusters  most  of  the 


revolutionary  literature.  Typical  is  the  vigorous  ode 
/  Al  i6  de  Septiembre  de  1821,  by  Andres  Quintana  Roo 
(1787-185 1).  First  it  presents  a  picture  of  the  Iberian 
triumph  over  the  Mexicans  led  by  Hidalgo.  His  example 
fires  the  noble  soul  of  Morelos,  but  in  spite  of  his  efforts 
to  achieve  liberty  for  the  Mexicans,  fortune  reserves  the 
supreme  glory  for  Iturbide,  "whose  name  surpasses  that 
of  the  others  as  much  as  the  brilliance  of  the  moon  out- 
shines the  numberless  stars  in  the  firmament." 

Quintana  Roo  was  a  native  of  Yucatan  and  the  Mexicans 
have  commemorated  his  years  of  service  to  his  country 
by  naming  a  territory  in  that  peninsula  after  him.  In 
the  same  way  states  have  been  named  for  Hidalgo,  More- 
los, and  Guerrero.  After  Iturbide's  fall,  Quintana  Roo 
edited  various  political  journals  in  which  he  expressed 
in  vigorous  prose  a  high-minded  position  on  public  affairs. 
Verses  by  the  Cuban  poet  Heredia  exist  praising  Quintana 
Roo  for  daring  to  oppose  certain  arbitrary  and  tyrannical 
acts  of  the  government.  Quintana  Roo's  verses  are  well 
written  for  he  was  a  student  of  prosody  and  published 
critical  articles  concerning  it. 
X  Another  native  of  Yucatan,  Wenceslao  Alpuche 
(1804-41),  struck  in  his  odes  a  strongly  patriotic  note 
with  almost  epic  intonation.  His  most  famous  one,  A 
Hidalgo,  reviews  the  bloody  course  of  Mexican  history; 
then  after  an  apostrophe  to  liberty,  Alpuche  declares  that 
Hidalgo,  like  Leonidas  and  Washington,  was  inspired 
by  her.  Realistically  portraying  Hidalgo's  hour  of  death, 
he  urges  Mexicans  to  look  on  the  hero's  remains  as  he 
prophesies  that  from  the  ground  fertilized  by  Hidalgo's 
blood  will  spring  avengers.     In  a  similar  strain  Alpuche 


sang  the  death  of  Morelos,  in  his  ode  Al  Suplicio  de  Mo- 

Morelos'  most  famous  exploit,  the  escape  from  the 
siege  of  Cuautla,  was  immortalized  by  Francisco  Manuel 
Sanchez  de  Tagle  (i 782-1 847),  who  described  it  in  his 
poem  Romance  Heroico  de  la  Salida  de  Morelos  de  Cuautla, 
Being  a  city  man  Sanchez  de  Tagle  was  more  especially 
enthusiastic  over  Iturbide  in  whose  honor  he  indited 
several  poems.  In  a  political  capacity  he  was  associated 
with  that  leader,  for  he  was  one  of  those  who  composed 
the  Declaration  of  Independence  of  the  year  1821.  As  a 
poet  Sanchez  de  Tagle  was  prolific  and  is  considered  the 
principal  representative  of  classicism  in  Mexico.  After 
his  death  there  was  published  by  his  son  a  volume  of  his 
verse,  mainly  love  lyrics  and  religious  pieces  in  classical 
style.  One  of  his  earliest  poems  in  point  of  time  consists 
of  verses  of  occasion  to  celebrate  the  erection  in  Mexico 
of  a  statue  of  Carlos  IV.  The  poet  owed  much  to  the 
fact  that  he  attracted  the  attention  of  the  viceroy  who 
appointed  him  a  professor  in  the  university.  The  promi- 
nence of  such  a  man  in  the  revolution  of  1820  shows  how 
different  was  its  character  from  that  of  previous  revolu- 
tionary efforts. 

The  admiration  of  Iturbide  in  its  extreme  form  is  re- 
vealed in  the  poems  of  Anastasio  de  Ochoa  y  Acuiia 
(i 783-1 833).  His  earliest  writings  were  satiric  and  festive 
lines  and  translations,  especially  of  dramas.  In  1813  was 
produced  his  original  drama  Don  Alfonso.  The  best  of 
his  patriotic  odes  is  El  Grito  de  Independencia.  In  this 
he  compares  Spanish  tyranny  to  a  cloud  such  as  a  shepherd 
sees  approaching  with  the  destructive  force  of  a  whirl- 


wind  about  to  overwhelm  his  humble  home.  Like  the 
tempest  are  the  misfortunes  of  Mexico  where  only  a  hand- 
ful of  patriots  are  fighting  for  liberty.  But  while  Iturbide 
lives  there  is  hope,  and  in  anticipation  of  his  ultimate 
success,  the  poet  congratulates  "the  American  Mars'*  on 
his  good  fortune  and  triumph. 

But  Iturbide's  assumption  of  the  crown  as  Emperor  of 
Mexico  aroused  indignation  and  denunciation  such  as 
was  expressed  in  the  ode  A  Iturbide  en  su  Coronacion  by 
Francisco  Ortega  (i 793-1 849).  This  ode  deserves  a 
place  as  a  classic  invective  against  ambition.  The  poet 
urges  Iturbide  to  listen  to  the  voice  of  patriotism  and 
turn  aside  from  false  ambition.  His  true  glory  lies  in 
having  achieved  the  independence  of  a  people  and  not 
in  occupying  a  throne.  Ortega  enjoyed  the  distinction 
of  having  written  an  allegorical  melodrama,  Mexico 
Libre,  which  was  produced  as  a  part  of  the  official  celebra- 
tion of  the  oaths  of  independence  on  October  27th,  1821. 
In  allegorical  style  Ortega  wrote  much  other  patriotic 
verse,  in  which  Liberty  assisted  by  Mars  and  Pallas  favors 
America  while  Despotism  and  Discord  are  put  to  rout. 
In  the  allegorical  vein  Ortega's  longest  poem  is  La  Venida 
del  Espiritu  Santo,  to  a  large  extent  a  paraphrase  of  the 
first  book  of  Milton's  Paradise  Lost,  and  yet  worthy  to 
rank  among  the  world's  religious  epics.  The  poem  deals 
with  the  opposition  of  Satan  and  his  legions  to  the  apostles. 
The  chief  characters  are  Satan  and  St.  Paul.  The  first 
canto  consists  of  a  review  of  the  forces  of  darkness  in 
which  Moloch  is  represented  by  Huitzilopochtli,  the  war 
god  of  the  ancient  Mexicans  to  whom  their  bloody  human 
sacrifices  were  made.     Important  episodes  of  the  poem 


are  the  triumph  of  St.  Stephen,  the  conversion  of  St.  Paul 
and  the  descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  upon  the  apostles, 
an  event  which  Satan  contemplates  with  scornful  sneers. 
One  writer  of  prose  who  lived  during  the  revolutionary 
period  in  Mexico  deserves  mention,  Jose  Joaquin  Fernan- 
dez de  Lizardi  (i 774-1 827).  From  181 2  to  1826,  under 
the  name  of  "  El  Pensador  Mexicano,"  he  was  the  cham- 
pion pamphleteer  of  the  revolution.  In  this  capacity  he 
defended  the  ecclesiastics  who,  stimulated  by  the  example 
of  Hidalgo,  had  supported  the  revolution  by  bearing  arms. 
For  his  bold  utterances  he  was  thrown  into  prison  by  the 
viceroy  Venegas  in  spite  of  that  provision  of  the  constitu- 
tion of  181 2  guaranteeing  the  liberty  of  the  press.  How- 
ever, he  was  soon  released.  Then  he  gave  forth  his  ideas 
upon  the  condition  of  Mexico  and  its  needs  by  publishing 
in  1 8 16  a  picaresque  novel.  El  Periquillo  Sarniento. 

This  book,  though  written  with  a  distinctly  didactical 
purpose,  is  still  read  for  the  amusing  character  of  the  in- 
cidents. Like  Gil  Bias,  the  hero  penetrates  all  classes  of 
Mexican  society,  examining  its  virtues  and  vices,  especially 
.  those  which  its  author  wishes  to  praise  or  flagellate.  The 
title  is  a  nickname,  by  explaining  which  the  writer  desires 
to  discourage  the  habit  of  calling  names.  The  hero's 
name  Pedro  had  been  turned  by  his  schoolmates  into 
Periquillo  because  he  was  sent  to  school  dressed  in  a  green 
jacket  and  yellow  pantaloons,  the  colors  of  the  plumage 
of  the  common  Mexican  parrot;  and  in  order  to  dis- 
tinguish this  Pedro  from  another,  the  additional  title 
Sarniento,  derived  from  a  malady  which  he  suflFered,  was 
bestowed  upon  him.  The  practical  result  of  his  schooling 
at  the  hands  of  various  ignorant  teachers  was  to  make 


him  able  to  contend  in  sophistical  argument.  Beginning 
then  his  life  career,  he  is,  by  turns,  novice  in  a  monastery, 
highwayman,  jail-bird,  barber  and  doctor.  In  the  course 
of  his  wanderings,  he  comes  upon  the  corpse  of  a  school 
friend  hanging  by  the  roadside,  a  warning  to  malefactors. 
The  life  of  this  friend,  one  of  whose  early  adventures  had 
been  an  attempt  to  seduce  Pedro's  sister,  conveys  the 
ordinary  lesson  of  the  bad  end  of  the  bad  boy.  Altogether 
the  Mexican  critic  Altamirano  considers  this  realistic 
novel  to  be  "the  most  genuine  representation  of  the 

The  "Pensador's"  political  writing  becomes  most  in- 
teresting in  Las  Conversaciones  del  Payo  y  del  Sacristan, 
in  which  are  discussed  with  infinite  irony  and  delightful 
jest  "the  advantages  which  have  come  to  Mexico  by  the 
death  of  Iturbide."  These  imaginary  conversations  is- 
sued between  August  and  December,  1824,  introducing 
various  types  of  Mexican  character  and  treating  the 
serious  problems  which  confronted  society,  are  essential 
to  any  study  of  social  conditions  at  that  time. 

Fernandez  de  Lizardi  published  two  other  novels.  La 
Quijotita  y  su  Prima,  18 19,  and  Don  Catrin  de  la  Fachenda, 
1825,  but  in  these  the  didactical  motive  has  gained  com- 
plete ascendancy  for  they  are  practically  devoid  of  in- 
cident. In  the  former  a  colonel  instructs  his  daughter  in 
the  moral  conduct  of  her  life;  the  fact  that  such  a  preach- 
ment was  widely  read  in  several  editions  is  perhaps  il- 
luminating in  regard  to  the  literary  taste  of  the  period. 
The  title  of  the  latter  has  contributed  an  epithet  used  in 
Mexico,  to  characterize  the  type  of  person  represented 
by  Don  Catrin.     A  shorter  book  than  either  of  these  is 


Noches  tristes,  in  which  the  writer  gives  personal  details 
of  his  imprisonment.  Altogether  "El  Pensador  Mexi- 
cano"  is  a  name  fondly  remembered  by  his  countrymen 
because  it  represents  a  typical  personality  of  the  period.  1^ 

While  revolution  was  setting  Spanish  America  aflame, 
the  island  of  Qiba  became  the  place  of  refuge  for  loyalists. 
The  immigration  from  Santo  Domingo  was  the  first  to 
come.  In  1795,  the  whole  island  had  been  ceded  to  the 
French,  and  immediately  thereafter  the  negro  insurrec- 
tion raging  in  Haiti  spread  to  Santo  Domingo.  In  1801, 
the  negro  leader  Toussaint  L'Ouverture  captured  the 
capital  from  which  many  of  the  leading  families  had 
already  gone  to  Cuba.  Among  them  were  the  parents  of 
J.  M.  Heredia  destined  to  be  Cuba's  greatest  poet. 

The  loyalist  immigrants  contributed  largely  to  the 
elements  of  culture  in  Cuba.  An  interest  in  literature 
among  the  men  of  Habana  had  led  as  early  as  1790  to 
the  establishment  of  a  literary  journal,  El  Papel  Periodico. 
As  the  contributions  to  this  paper  were  published  anony- 
mously it  has  been  somewhat  difficult  to  know  much  of 
their  authors,  but  two  names  of  poets  surpassing  the  others 
have  come  down  to  posterity,  Manuel  de  Zequeira  y 
Arango  (1760-1846)  and  Manuel  Justo  de  Rubalcava 

De  Zequeira  rose  to  relatively  high  rank  in  the  Spanish  v 
army  and  commanded  the  garrison  of  the  fortress  of 
Santa  Marta  in  Nueva  Granada  when  it  was  besieged  by 
the  colonial  army.  In  private  life  he  was  a  studious  man 
whose  influence  and  example  was  highly  beneficial  to 
Cuban  letters.  Of  his  poems,  written  in  imitation  of  the 
classical  style  of  the  Spanish  poets  of  the  golden  age,  the 


best  is  La  Batalla  naval  de  Cortes  en  la  Laguna  de  Mexico: 
This  contains  the  striking  description  of  the  death  of  a 
Spanish  soldier,  Pedro  de  la  Barba,  killed  by  the  arrow  of 
a  native.  De  Zequeira  was  also  a  graceful  sonneteer, 
but  herein  his  work  is  not  always  distinguishable  from 
that  of  his  friend  De  Rubalcava.  So  closely  do  their 
peculiarities  coincide  that  critics  have  been  unable  to 
make  certain  which  is  the  author  of  an  admirable  sonnet, 
La  Huston,  in  which  all  earthly  glory  is  compared  to  the 
fugacious  glory  of  the  dreamer.  Though  the  sonnet  has 
been  commonly  assigned  to  Rubalcava,  it  first  appeared 
in  the  Papel  Periodic o  over  the  pen  name  used  by  De 
Zequeira.  The  latter  wrote  much  religious  verse  also  in 
which  is  apparent  the  influence  of  the  Mexican  poet 

Such  was  the  spirit  of  poetical  production  in  Cuba 
during  the  first  twenty  years  of  the  nineteenth  century 
until  there  suddenly  appeared  a  book  of  verse  which  there- 
after became  the  inspiration  of  Cuban  separatists.  Its 
author,  Jose  Maria  Heredia  (1803-39),  ^^^  been  called 
by  a  Spaniard,  "the  compendium  and  epitome  of  all 
enmity  toward  Spain."  But  Heredia  regarded  himself 
as  a  Spaniard  and  refers  in  his  verses  to  Spain  as  "tender 
mother."  As  a  partisan,  however,  of  the  liberals,  who 
supported  in  1820  the  revolution  led  by  Rafael  del  Riego, 
he  wrote  burning  verses  against  "the  oppressor  of  Iberia," 
and  called  Spain  stupid  because  she  consented  to  oppres- 
sion and  to  the  death  of  Riego.  Heredia's  language, 
however,  was  later  applicable  to  the  political  situation 
in  Cuba. 

Heredia,  moreover,  was  involved  in  the  first  attempt  at 


insurrection  in  Cuba,  which  occurred  in  1823.  He  was  a 
member  of  the  society  known  as  the  "Soles  de  Bolivar," 
who  plotted  to  obtain  independence  for  Cuba  through 
the  assistance  of  Mexico  and  Colombia.  Such  a  conspiracy 
of  young  hotheads  in  a  society  composed  of  loyalist  ref- 
ugees was  predestined  to  failure.  Besides,  the  relaxation 
of  the  Spanish  commercial  laws,  incident  to  the  political 
conditions  of  America,  had  brought  great  material  pros- 
perity to  Cuba,  and  thereby  an  atmosphere  not  at  all 
favorable  to  revolution. 

But  Heredia,  though  bom  in  Cuba,  had  come  to  man- 
hood in  a  more  bracing  moral  environment.  His  father 
was  a  government  official,  who  had  acted  as  chief  judge 
of  the  court  in  Caracas  in  the  days  when  Venezuela  was 
trembling  under  the  tyranny  of  Monteverde.  The  elder 
Heredia  felt  such  sympathy  for  the  victims  of  official 
tyranny  and  in  his  capacity  as  magistrate  showed  such 
consideration  for  them  that  suspicion  of  complicity  in 
the  revolution  fell  on  his  own  head.  He  was  punished 
by  being  transferred  to  a  lesser  position  in  Mexico  in 
which  country  he  died  in  1820.  Of  his  father  the  poet 
wrote  in  a  poem  dedicated  to  his  memory,  "In  your  charge 
you  took  my  education  and  never  to  others'  hands  en- 
trusted my  tender  childhood.  Love  for  all  men,  fear  of 
God  you  inspired  in  me  and  hatred  of  atrocious  tyranny." 

After  his  father's  death  the  young  man  went  to  Cuba 
to  finish  his  studies  in  law  and  finally  settled  in  the  city 
of  Matanzas  as  a  practicing  attorney.  He  took  with  him 
many  of  the  poems  which  were  to  make  him  famous 
after  their  publication.  Some  of  them  probably  circu- 
lated in  manuscript  and  added  fuel  to  the  fires  of  revolt 


which  broke  out  in  1823.  For  his  part  Heredia  was  con- 
demned by  the  audiencia  of  Cuba  to  perpetual  banish- 
ment. He  went  to  the  United  States,  traveled  about 
there  for  a  short  time,  then  departed  for  Mexico  where  he 
married,  became  a  government  official  and  lived  there  to 
the  end  of  his  days.  In  1836  he  was  permitted  by  the 
Spanish  authorities  to  return  to  Cuba  for  a  brief  visit  of 
two  months,  constantly  harassed  by  annoying  restrictions. 
On  account  of  the  murmurs  then  circulating  in  the  island 
against  the  actions  of  the  governor,  the  restrictions  may 
have  been  justifiable  from  the  official  point  of  view,  but 
in  so  far  as  they  brought  Heredia  and  his  poetic  utter- 
ances to  the  notice  of  Cubans  they  were  unwise.  Heredia 
himself  was  far  from  thinking  of  inciting  insurrection. 
Suffering  from  ill  health  apd  a  sort  of  moral  dejection  on 
account  of  turbulent  political  conditions  in  Mexico,  he 
even  gave  expression  to  some  thoughts  which  have  been 
widely  published  by  Spaniards  as  a  recantation  of  the 
political  beliefs  which  inspired  his  poems. 

The  first  edition  of  his  poems,  printed  in  New  York  in 
1825,  contains  practically  all  he  ever  wrote  that  people 
care  for.  A  comparison  of  it  with  the  edition  of  Toluca, 
1832,  advertised  to  contain  additional  poems,  shows  that 
the  additions  consist  of  a  few  occasional  pieces,  a  phil- 
osophical dissertation  in  verse  on  immortality,  and  a 
number  of  translations.  In  Mexico  he  first  drew  attention 
to  himself  by  writing  for  the  papers  and  by  the  production 
of  certain  tragedies  largely  adaptations  from  French, 
the  Abufar  of  Ducis,  Sila,  Tiberio,  and  Los  ultimos  Ro- 
manos.  The  tirades  against  tyranny  which  abound  in 
these  dramas  were  quite  to  the  taste  of  the  Mexican  public 


and  assisted  materially  in  making  the  political  fortune 
of  their  author. 

The  New  York  edition  has  a  preface  in  English  which 
cannot  help  exciting  pathetic  interest  in  the  reader  fa- 
miliar with  the  circumstances.  It  is  a  sort  of  adver- 
tisement designed  perhaps  to  help  along  its  sale,  thus: 
"The  author  has  paid  particular  attention  to  the  accents 
to  make  these  poems  useful  to  Americans  learning  the 
Spanish  language.  Nothing  is  better  calculated  to  give 
them  a  practical  knowledge  of  the  true  pronunciation  of 
words  than  the  habit  of  reading  poetry.  May  they  re- 
ceive this  little  service  of  an  exiled  youth  as  an  expres- 
sion of  gratitude  for  the  asylum  he  has  found  in  this  happy 

Those  poems  of  Heredia  which  are  not  political  in  char- 
acter must  be  classed  with  that  type  of  poetry  more 
noteworthy  for  its  ideas  than  for  its  form.  For  that 
reason  they  are  susceptible  of  good  translation  into  other 
languages.  At  the  same  time  his  poems  possess  a  sub- 
jective element  revealing  a  passionate  personality  that 
causes  some  critics  to  compare  him  with  Byron  and  other 
romantic  poets.  But  there  is  nothing  of  the  romantic 
pose  in  Heredia*s  lines  for  his  banishment  had  imbued 
them  with  the  note  of  sincerity.  Heredia  stands  in  per- 
sonal touch  with  the  elemental  forces  of  nature  in  their 
sublimest  form.  "Hurricane,  hurricane,  I  feel  thee  com- 
ing," he  cried;  or  to  the  sun,  "I  love  thee.  Sun:  thou 
knowest  how  joyfully  I  greet  thee,  when  thou  appearest 
at  the  gates  of  the  east."  To  the  mighty  falls  of  Niagara 
he  speaks  in  a  familiar  tone,  "mighty  torrent,  hush  thy 
terrifying  thunder;  diminish   a  little  the   darkness  that 


surrounds  thee;  let  me  contemplate  thy  serene  counte- 
nance and  fill  my  soul  with  ardent  enthusiasm/* 

Heredia's  poems  do  not  contain  elaborate  descriptions 
of  nature.  On  the  contrary  he  paints  with  a  bold  stroke, 
intent  on  producing  a  suitable  background  for  the  ideas 
which  fill  his  soul.  Take  for  example  the  poem  En  el 
Teocalli  de  Cholula.  The  poet  seated  in  the  ancient  ternple 
of  the  Aztecs  watches  the  sun  sink  behind  a  volcano. 
Its  snow-clad  top  seems  to  dissolve  into  a  sea  of  gold.^ 
Darkness  falls.  The  moon  and  the  stars  become  visible.^ 
As  the  moon  sinks  behind  the  volcano,  the  shadow  of  the 
mountain,  like  a  colossal  ghost,  strides  across  the  plain 
till  it  envelops  the  poet  and  the  whole  world,  though  the 
vast  form  of  the  volcano  is  still  outlined  against  the  sky. 
The  flight  of  time  thus  leaves  no  traces  on  this  giant. 
Nevertheless  the  poet  knows  that  according  to  the  law 
of  nature  it  must  some  day  fall. 

The  flight  of  time  seenled  to  be  always  present  to  Here- 
dia's  mind.  The  Aztec  temple  is  now  nothing  but  a  deso- 
late monument  to  the  cruel  pride  of  an  extinct  race.  The 
majestic  waters  of  Niagara  run  "like  the  dark  torrent 
of  centuries  into  eternity."  It  is  such  criticism  of  life, 
though  commonplace  at  times,  that  gives  Heredia's 
poetry  a  tinge  of  melancholy.  Therein  he  resembles  our 
own  poet,  William  Cullen  Bryant.  And  to  Bryant  we 
fortunately  owe  metrical  translations  of  two  of  Heredia*s 
greatest  poems,  the  ode  to  the  Hurricane  and  the  ode  on 
Niagara  to  which  Heredia  owes  the  appellation  bestowed 
on  him  of  "Singer  of  Niagara."    The  latter  runs  thus: 

My  lyre!    Give  me  my  lyre!    My  bosom  feels 
The  glow  of  inspiration.    O,  how  long 


Have  I  been  left  in  darkness,  since  this  light 
Last  visited  my  brow!    Niagara! 
Thou  with  thy  rushing  waters  dost  restore 
The  heavenly  gift  that  sorrow  took  away. 

Tremendous  torrent!  for  an  instant  hush 
The  terrors  of  thy  voice,  and  cast  aside 
Those  wide-involving  shadows,  that  my  eyes 
May  see  the  fearful  beauty  of  thy  face! 
I  am  not  all  unworthy  of  thy  sight. 

For  from  my  very  boyhood  have  I  loved,  J 

Shunning  the  meaner  track  of  common  minds. 
To  look  on  Nature  in  her  loftier  moods.  ^ 

At  the  fierce  rushing  of  the  hurricane, 
At  the  near  bursting  of  the  thunderbolt, 
I  have  been  touched  with  joy;  and  when  the  sea 
Lashed  by  the  wind  hath  rocked  my  bark,  and  showed 
Its  yawning  caves  beneath  me,  I  have  loved 
Its  dangers  and  the  wrath  of  elements. 
But  never  yet  the  madness  of  the  sea 
Hath  moved  me  as  thy  grandeur  moves  me  now. 

Thou  flowest  on  in  quiet,  till  thy  waves 
Grow  broken  *midst  the  rocks;  thy  current  then 
Shoots  onward  like  the  irresistible  course 
Of  Destiny.    Ah,  terribly  they  rage, — 
The  hoarse  and  rapid  whirlpools  there!    My  brain 
Grows  wild,  my  senses  wander,  as  I  gaze 
Upon  the  hurrying  waters,  and  my  sight. 
Vainly  would  follow,  as  toward  the  verge 
Sweeps  the  wi0^  torrent.    Waves  innumerable 
Meet  there  and  madden, — waves  innumerable 
Urge  on  and  overtake  the  waves  before, 
And  disappear  in  thunder  and  in  foam. 

They  reach,  they  leap  the  barrier, — the  abyss 
Swallows  insatiable  the  sinking  waves. 


A  thousand  rainbows  arch  them,  and  woods 

Are  deafened  with  the  roar.    The  violent  shock 

Shatters  to  vapor  the  descending  sheets. 

A  cloudy  whirlwind  fills  the  gulf,  and  heaves 

The  mighty  pyramid  of  circling  mist 

To  heaven.    The  solitary  hunter  near 

Pauses  with  terror  in  the  forest  shades. 

What  seeks  my  restless  eye?    Why  are  not  here. 
About  the  jaws  of  this  abyss,  the  palms — 
Ah,  the  delicious  palms, — that  on  the  plains 
Of  my  own  native  Cuba  spring  and  spread 
Their  thickly  foliaged  summits  to  the  sun. 
And,  in  the  breathings  of  the  ocean  air, 
Wave  soft  beneath  the  heaven's  unspotted  blue? 

But  no,  Niagara, — thy  forest  pines 
Are  fitter  coronal  for  thee.    The  palm. 
The  effeminate  myrtle,  and  frail  rose  may  grow 
In  gardens,  and  give  out  their  fragrance  there. 
Unmanning  him  who  breathes  it.    Thine  it  is 
To  do  a  nobler  office.    Generous  minds 
Behold  thee,  and  are  moved,  and  learn  to  rise 
Above  earth's  frivolous  pleasures;  they  partake 
Thy  grandeur,  at  the  utterance  of  thy  name. 

God  of  all  truth!  in  other  lands  I've  seen 
Lying  philosophers,  blaspheming  men. 
Questioners  of  thy  mysteries,  that  draw 
Their  fellows  deep  into  impiety; 
And  therefore  doth  my  spirit  seek  thy  face 
In  earth's  majestic  solitudes.    Even  here 
My  heart  doth  open  all  itself  to  thee. 
In  this  immensity  of  loneliness, 
I  feel  thy  hand  upon  me.    To  my  ear 
The  eternal  thunder  of  the  cataract  brings 
Thy  voice,  and  I  am  humbled  as  I  hear. 


Dread  torrent,  that  with  wonder  and  with  fear 
Dost  overwhelm  the  soul  of  him  that  looks 
Upon  thee,  and  dost  bear  it  from  itself, — 
Whence  hast  thou  thy  beginning?    Who  supplies. 
Age  after  age,  thy  unexhausted  springs? 
What  power  hath  ordered,  that  when  all  thy  weight 
Descends  into  the  deep,  the  swollen  waves 
Rise  not  and  roll  to  overwhelm  the  earth  ? 

The  Lord  has  opened  his  omnipotent  hand, 
Covered  thy  face  with  clouds,  and  given  voice 
To  thy  down-rushing  waters;  he  hath  girt 
Thy  terrible  forehead  with  his  radiant  bow. 
I  see  thy  never-resting  waters  run. 
And  I  bethink  me  how  the  tide  of  time 
Sweeps  to  eternity.    So  pass  of  man — 
Pass,  like  a  noonday  dream — the  blossoming  days 
And  he  awakes  to  sorrow.    I,  alas! 
Feel  that  my  youth  is  withered,  and  my  brow 
Ploughed  early  with  the  lines  of  grief  and  care. 

Never  have  I  so  deeply  felt  as  now 
The  hopeless  solitude,  the  abandonment. 
The  anguish  of  a  loveless  life.    Alas! 
How  can  the  impassioned,  the  unfrozen  heart 
Be  happy  without  love?    I  would  that  one 
Beautiful,  worthy  to  be  loved  and  joined 
In  love  with  me,  now  shared  my  lonely  walk 
On  this  tremendous  brink.    'Twere  sweet  to  see 
Her  sweet  face  touched  with  paleness,  and  become 
More  beautiful  from  fear,  and  overspread 
With  a  faint  smile  while  clinging  to  my  side. 
Dreams, — dreams!    I  am  an  exile,  and  for  me 
There  is  no  country  and  there  is  no  love. 

Hear,  dread  Niagara,  my  latest  voice! 
Yet  a  few  years,  and  the  cold  earth  shall  close 


Over  the  bones  of  him  who  sings  thee  now 
Thus  feelingly.    Would  that  this,  my  humble  verse. 
Might  be,  like  thee,  immortal!    I,  meanwhile. 
Cheerfully  passing  to  the  appointed  rest. 
Might  raise  my  radiant  forehead  in  the  clouds 
To  listen  to  the  echoes  of  my  fame. 

Even  in  the  presence  of  the  rushing  waters  Heredia 
yearns  for  love,  an  ever  present  desire  with  him.  In  the 
lines  on  his  father's  death  he  expresses  the  hope  of  finding 
consolation  for  his  loss  in  "the  arms  of  his  beloved." 
In  the  matter  of  his  beloved  it  is  interesting  to  note  the 
dedications  of  the  two  editions  of  his  poems  prepared 
by  Heredia  himself.  In  the  edition  of  New  York  the  honor 
of  the  first  place  is  given  to  certain  lines,  "To  a  young 
lady  who  used  to  read  my  verses  with  pleasure."  In  the 
edition  of  Toluca  these  lines  are  replaced  by  a  sonnet, 
"To  my  Wife,"  thus  translated  by  James  Kennedy. 

When  yet  was  burning  in  my  fervid  veins 

The  fieriness  of  youth,  with  many  a  tear 

Of  grief,  'twas  mine  of  all  my  feelings  drear. 

To  pour  in  song  the  passion  and  the  pains; 

And  now  to  thee  I  dedicate  the  strains. 

My  wife,  when  love,  from  youth's  illusions  freer. 

In  our  pure  hearts  is  glowing  deep  and  clear, 

And  calm  serene  for  me  the  daylight  gains. 

Thus  lost  on  raging  seas,  for  aid  implores 

Of  Heaven  the  unhappy  mariner,  the  mark 

Of  tempests  bearing  on  him  wild  and  dark; 

And  on  the  altars  when  are  gained  the  shores. 

Faithful  to  the  deity  he  adores. 

He  consecrates  the  relics  of  his  bark. 

The  full  intensity  of  Heredia's  temperament  is  revealed 


in  the  lines  to  the  Hurricane.  For  some  reason  Bryant 
did  not  translate  the  last  stanza  of  the  poem,  perhaps 
because  it  was  too  intense  for  the  Puritan  in  him.  It  has 
been  necessary  then  to  add  it  in  a  prose  form,  because  to 
Heredia  this  stanza  was  the  climax  to  the  rest.  Though 
Bryant's  translation  is  at  times  almost  literal  he  para- 
phrased the  opening  cry,  "Hurricane,  hurricane,  I  feel 
thee  coming." 

Lord  of  the  winds!  I  feel  thee  nigh, 
I  know  thy  breath  in  the  burning  sky! 
And  I  wait,  with  a  thrill  in  every  vein, 
For  the  coming  of  the  hurricane! 

And  lo!  on  the  wing  of  the  heavy  gales. 
Through  the  boundless  arch  of  heaven  he  sails; 
Silent  and  slow,  and  terribly  strong. 
The  mighty  shadow  is  borne  along. 
Like  the  dark  eternity  to  come; 
While  the  world  below,  dismayed  and  dumb. 
Through  the  calm  of  the  thick  hot  atmosphere, 
Looks  up  at  its  gloomy  folds  with  fear. 

They  darken  fast;  and  the  golden  blaze 
Of  the  sun  is  quenched  in  the  lurid  haze, 
And  he  sends  through  the  shade  a  funeral  ray— 
A  glare  that  is  neither  night  nor  day, 
A  beam  that  touches,  with  hues  of  death. 
The  clouds  above  and  the  earth  beneath. 
To  its  covert  glides  the  silent  bird, 
While  the  hurricane's  distant  voice  is  heard 
Uplifted  among  the  mountains  round. 
And  the  forests  hear  and  answer  the  sound. 

He  is  come!  he  is  come!  do  ye  not  behold 
His  ample  robes  on  the  wind  unrolled  ? 


Giant  of  air!  we  bid  thee  hail! — 

How  his  gray  skirts  toss  in  the  whirling  gale; 

How  his  huge  and  writhing  arms  are  bent 

To  clasp  the  zone  of  the  firmament. 

And  fold  at  length,  in  their  dark  embrace, 

From  mountain  to  mountain  the  visible  space. 

Darker — still  darker!  the  whirlwinds  bear 
The  dust  of  the  plains  to  the  middle  air: 
And  hark  to  the  crashing,  long  and  loud. 
Of  the  chariot  of  God  in  the  thunder-cloud! 
You  may  trace  its  path  by  the  flashes  that  start 
From  the  rapid  wheels  where'er  they  dart, 
As  the  fire-bolts  leap  to  the  world  below, 
And  flood  the  skies  with  a  lurid  glow. 

What  roar  is  that? — *tis  the  rain  that  breaks 
In  torrents  away  from  the  airy  lakes. 
Heavily  poured  on  the  shuddering  ground, 
And  shedding  a  nameless  horror  round. 
Ah!  well-known  woods,  and  mountains,  and  skies, 
With  the  very  clouds! — ye  are  lost  to  my  eyes. 

I  seek  ye  vainly,  and  see  in  your  place 
The  shadowy  tempest  that  sweeps  through  space, 
A  whirling  ocean  that  fills  the  wall 
Of  the  crystal  heaven,  and  buries  all. 
And  I,  cut  oflF  from  the  world,  remain 
Alone  with  the  terrible  hurricane. 

Sublime  tempest!  As  if  filled  with  thy  solemn  inspiration, 
I  forget  the  vile  and  wretched  world  and  raise  my  head 
full  of  delight.  Where  is  the  coward  soul  that  fears  thy 
roar?  In  thee  I  rise  to  the  throne  of  the  Lord;  I 
hear  in  the  clouds  the  echo  of  his  voice;  I  feel  the 
earth  listen  to  him  and  tremble.  Hot  tears  descend  my 
pale  cheeks  and  trembling,  I  adore  his  lofty  majesty. 


The  same  fiery  ardor  is  displayed  in  Heredia*s  political 
poems.  Their  chief  sentiments  are  hatred  of  oppression 
and  love  of  liherty.  A  series  of  sonnets  on  Riego,  Rome, 
Cato,  Napoleon,  all  express  admiration  for  champions  of 
human  rights.  Napoleon  saved  France  from  anarchy  and 
made  kings  tremble;  though  he  died  abandoned  on  a 
lonely  rock,  his  life  exemplifies  the  fact  that  no  oppression 
however  strong  is  irresistible.  Love  of  liberty  is  ever  the 
poet's  cry.  In  his  earliest  political  composition,  La  Es- 
trella  de  Cuba,  written  at  the  age  of  nineteen  and  probably 
circulated  in  manuscript  among  the  conspirators  of  1823, 
Heredia  calls  for  sacrifice  of  this  sort,  "If  the  scaflFold 
awaits  me,  upon  its  height  my  bleeding  head  will  appear 
a  monument  of  Spanish  brutality." 

When  banished  he  indited  an  Epistola  a  Emilia,  a  gem 
of  personal  lyric  verse.  Homesick  and  longing  for  the 
"terrible  sun"  of  Cuba,  he  wrote  from  the  North:  "I  am 
free,  but  what  cruel  change!  The  winter's  wind  is  roaring; 
upon  its  wings  flies  the  piercing  cold.  The  inert  world 
suffers  the  tyranny  of  cruel  winter.  My  ear  hears  not  the 
voices  of  my  friends  but  only  the  barbarous  sounds  of  a 
foreign  idiom.  But  it  is  not  wearied  by  the  insolent 
tyrant,  nor  the  groan  of  the  slave  nor  the  crack  of  the  whip 
which  poisons  the  air  of  Cuba.  At  night  when  the  light  of 
the  silent  moon  and  the  delicious  perfume  of  the  lemon  in- 
vite to  repose,  a  thousand  thoughts  of  rage  becloud  my 

The  political  verse  attains  a  climax  in  the  closing  lines 
of  the  Himno  del  Desterrado:  "Cuba,  Cuba,  what  life  you 
gave  me,  sweet  land  of  light  and  beauty!  And  am  I  to  see 
thee  again  ?    How  sternly  the  severity  of  my  fate  weighs 


on  me  to-day!  Oppression  threatens  me  with  death  in 
the  fields  where  I  was  bom.  Cuba,  at  last  thou  shalt  be 
free  and  pure  as  the  air  thou  breathest,  as  the  sparkling 
waves  which  thou  dost  see  kissing  the  sand  of  thy  shores. 
Though  vile  traitors  serve  him,  the  tyrant's  wrath  is  vain, 
because  not  for  naught  between  Cuba  and  Spain  does  the 
sea  roll  its  billows." 

Heredia's  prophecy  of  September,  1825,  was  not  fulfilled 
for  nearly  three-quarters  of  a  century,  but  during  that 
period  his  poems  were  a  constant  inspiration  to  Cuban 
patriotism.  To  this  fact  even  the  Spanish  critic  Menendez 
y  Pelayo  testifies  with  bitterness  in  these  words,  "If  his 
political  activity  does  not  equal  that  of  other  conspirators 
against  Spain,  because  he  took  no  part  in  an  armed  strug- 
gle, his  literary  influence  was  continuous  and  more  eflPectual 
than  any  other  because  he  surpassed  all  in  talent." 

As  there  is  in  Heredia  something  typical  of  Spanish 
Americans,  his  vague  sensuality,  his  melancholia,  his  out- 
bursts of  hatred,  his  love  of  liberty,  his  poetry  is  doubly 
interesting.  The  ease  with  which  he  was  able  to  express 
these  different  emotions  made  him  indifferent  at  times  to  a 
classical  finish  in  the  form  of  his  verse.  In  this  he  belonged 
to  the  romantic  school.  For  an  exact  and  comprehensive 
criticism  of  Heredia  nobody  has  ever  excelled  that  of  the 
Spanish  critic,  Alberto  Lista,  who  said  after  reading  the 
first  edition  of  his  poems,  "He  is  a  great  poet;  the  fire  of 
his  soul  has  passed  into  his  verses  and  is  transmitted  to  his 

Heredia  must  be  classed  with  the  revolutionary  epoch 
though  he  stands  alone  among  Cubans  of  that  day.  The 
Cuban  struggle  for  independence  was  to  fill  the  whole  of 


the  nineteenth  century  and  therefore  the  whole  of  Cuban 
literature  may  be  called  revolutionary.  On  the  other 
hand,  in  other  Spanish-American  countries  the  winning 
of  independence  was  followed  by  a  period  of  adjustment 
to  new  political  conditions.  As  this  adjustment  varied 
with  local  conditions  there  sprang  up  local  literatures 
which  must  be  studied  separately. 



After  separation  from  Spain  the  vast  territory  of  the 
Argentine  Republic,  divided  politically  into  provinces, 
was  organized  into  a  nationality  by  Bernardo  Rivadavia. 
Under  his  dictatorship  Buenos  Aires  became  the  capital 
of  a  centralized  or  unitarian  republic.  Against  the  suprem- 
acy of  the  city  the  provinces  demanded  a  federal  republic 
and  rose  in  rebellion,  fighting  even  among  themselves. 
Moreover,  it  became  necessary  to  assert  Argentine  sov- 
ereignty over  the  frontier  province,  now  the  independent 
republic  of  Uruguay,  against  the  aggressions  of  the  Por- 
tuguese from  Brazil.  The  Uruguayans  opposed  an  armed 
resistance  to  the  claims  of  the  Brazilians  and  were  assisted 
by  forces  sent  out  from  Buenos  Aires.  In  the  final  battle 
at  Ituzaingo,  on  February  20,  1827,  the  Brazilians  were 
so  decisively  beaten  that  the  question  of  sovereignty  was 
settled,  while  a  treaty  between  Argentina  and  Uruguay 
the  next  year  conceded  absolute  independence  to  the  latter. 

An  ode  in  celebration  of  this  battle,  Al  Triunfo  de  Itu- 
zaingo, is  one  of  the  best  lyrical  pieces  of  the  Argentine 
poet  Juan  Cruz  Varela  (1794- 183  9).  It  is  a  long  poem, 
relating  rather  minutely  the  course  of  the  fight.  In  this 
respect  it  resembles  the  ballad  chronicles  which  were  in- 
spired by  the  political  events  in  Buenos  Aires  from  the 
time  of  the  bombardment  of  the  city  by  the  English.    But 



there  is  a  swing  to  these  verses  of  Varela's  which  puts  him 
poetically  above  his  fellow  balladists.  Varela  was  not 
only  a  journalistic  champion  of  Rivadavia's  administra- 
tion but  the  poetic  chronicler  of  all  the  occurrences  of  it, 
writing  odes  on  the  foundation  of  the  university,  on  the 
hydraulic  works  ordered  by  the  government,  on  the  estab- 
lishment of  the  philharmonic  society.  In  spite  of  the 
apparent  dullness  of  such  topics  Varela  infused  them  with 
life.  Especially  praised  is  an  ode  on  the  liberty  of  the  press, 
for  Varela  was  a  fierce  patriot.  His  fierceness  reaches  a 
climax  in  an  ode,  Al  Incendio  de  Cangallo.  This  was  a 
Peruvian  village  burned  and  razed  by  the  Spaniards  in 
1822,  an  act  which  roused  great  indignation  and  is  still 
commemorated  by  the  name  of  a  street  in  Buenos  Aires. 
Varela  called  for  "vengeance,  pitiless  vengeance,  on  the 
Iberian  tigers,  the  proud  Spaniards,  hateful  race  of  the 
execrated  Attila."  Such  invective  was  as  much  to  the  lik- 
ing of  the  author's  contemporaries  as  it  is  unpleasant  to 
the  Spaniards  to-day. 

The  same  hyperbolical  and  declamatory  rhetoric  made 
popular  two  dramas  by  Varela,  Dido,  and  Jrgia,  written 
for  production  before  the  Sociedad  del  Buen  Gusto  in 
Buenos  Aires.  These  were  in  some  respects  the  most 
original  dramas  produced  through  the  influence  of  that 
society  for  the  promotion  of  the  drama.  In  1823  the 
tirades  in  Dido  created  enthusiasm  for  their  apt  references 
to  the  political  situation.  The  same  was  true  of  Argia 
a  year  later.  This  play  was  based  on  Alfieri's  Antigone, 
while  Dido  sometimes  followed  Virgil  word  for  word.  In 
his  later  years  Varela  made  a  metrical  version  of  the 
Aeneid  though  only  the  first  two  books  of  the  epic  were 


ever  printed.  Juan  Cruz  Varela  deserves  credit  for  his 
efforts  in  classic  culture  during  the  troublous  times  in  which 
he  lived. 

The  unitarian  party  to  which  Varela  belonged  was  forced 
out  of  power  and  beaten  in  battle  by  the  federalists  under 
the  leadership  of  Juan  Manuel  Rosas.  This  man,  sup- 
ported by  the  gauchos  of  the  interior,  finally  succeeded  in 
assuming  absolute  power.  To  his  political  opponents  he 
was  merciless.  Calling  them  savages  and  confiscating 
their  property  for  the  benefit  of  his  adherents,  he  organized 
a  special  body  of  police  called  the  "Mazhorca"  to  hunt 
down  and  exterminate  all  unitarians.  Many  of  those  who 
escaped  from  his  clutches  into  exile,  since  they  were  ed- 
ucated men,  took  up  the  fight  against  Rosas  with  pen  as 
well  as  sword.  For  that  reason  Argentine  literature  until 
the  latter*s  fall  in  ^^^2  is  to  a  large  extent  a  militant 
protest  against  that  tyrant.  Juan  Cruz  Varela*s  last 
poem,  for  example,  rhetorically  one  of  his  best,  Al  25  de 
Mayo  de  18 j8,  was  directed  against  Rosas. 

Before  the  worst  days  of  Rosas'  control  there  occurred 
an  event  of  the  first  magnitude  in  the  history  of  Spanish- 
American  letters,  the  introduction  of  romanticism  through 
the  publication  of  Esteban  Echeverria's  poem  Elvira  in 
1832.  This  date  is  noteworthy  because  it  is  the  same 
year  m  which  appeared  the  Duque  de  Rivas'  Moro  esposito, 
the  first  important  production  of  Spanish  rorhanticism. 
Argentina  thus  received  directly  the  French  type  of  roman- 
ticism whereas  other  countries  absorbed  the  romantic  spirit 
at  second  hand  through  the  medium  of  Spanish  works. 

Nature  in  Argentina  was  to  offer  a  fertile  field  for  ex- 
ploitation by  romantic  poets.    Contemporary  with  Eche- 


verria  but  dying  too  young  to  fulfill  the  promise  of  his 
early  work  was  Florencio  Balcarce  (1815-39).  His  memory 
is  kept  alive  by  certain  pieces  through  their  evocation  of 
national  scenery  and  life.  The  song  of  the  milkman, 
El  Lecheroy  is  fresh  and  natural.  El  Cigarro  evoked  the 
memory  of  the  national  hero  San  Martin  then  living  in 
semi-exile  in  Europe.  The  poem  depicts  an  old  man 
smoking  a  cigar  beneath  the  shade  of  an  ombu  tree.  Phil- 
osophizing to  his  grandchildren,  he  finds  that  fame  is  like 
the  ashes  of  his  cigar,  that  old  men  are  cast  aside  and 
despised  like  the  butt  of  a  cigar.  There  is  something  of 
the  romantic  spirit  in  Balcarce's  poems  and  had  he  lived 
longer  he  might  have  been  one  of  the  ablest  of  Echever- 
ria's  disciples. 
y^  Esteban  Echeverria  (1805-51)  at  the  age  of  twenty, 
went  to  Europe  in  search  of  educational  advantages  not 
to  be  found  then  in  his  native  land.  The  study  of  literature 
appears  to  have  been  his  chief  occupation,  the  works  of 
Shakespeare,  Goethe  and  especially  Byron.  When  in 
Bordeaux,  a  Swiss  friend  took  him  to  see  a  representation 
of  Schiller's  Kabale  und  Liehe,  which  made  a  profound 
impression  on  his  mind.  Before  his  return  to  Buenos 
Aires,  his  interest  in  Byron's  poetry  led  him  to  make  a 
short  visit  to  England  in  1829.  He  arrived  in  Argentina, 
May,  1830.  Warmly  received  there,  he  published  a  few 
gratulatory  verses  and  then  withdrew  from  public  inter- 
course to  work  on  a  poem  which  was  published  in  1832, 
entitled  Elvira  0  la  novia  del  Plata.  The  public  was  too 
violently  agitated  by  politics  to  give  much  attention  to 
this  production,  but  his  next  volume  of  verse,  Los  Con- 
sueloSy  made  their  author  immediately  popular. 


Los  Consuelos  are  short  poems  in  the  Byronic  manner. 
The  romantic  pose  maintained  throughout  the  collection 
was  new  to  readers  in  Argentina  and  delighted  them. 
The  author  explains  the  title  by  the  words:  "They  solaced 
my  grief  and  have  been  my  only  consolation  in  days  of 
bitterness."  The  practice  which  he  adopted  from  Byron 
of  heading  each  poem  by  a  quotation  gives  an  excellent 
clue  to  their  contents  and  character.  For  the  entire  col- 
lection he  chose  two  lines  from  Auzias  March  which,  after 
quoting  in  the  original  Catalan,  he  gave  in  the  Spanish 
of  Luis  de  Leon : 

Let  no  one  see  my  writings  who  is  not  sad,  or  who  at  some 
time  has  not  been  sad.  ^^ 

From  Byron  he  selected. 

Fare  thee  well !  and  if  forever, 
Still  forever,  fare  thee  well! 

to  head  the  poem  entitled  Lara  o  la  Partida.  The  name 
Lara  was  the  poet's  romantic  disguise.  Taken  boldly 
from  Byron,  it  expressed  the  loneliness  of  heart  that 
characterized  the  original  of  the  English  poem.  As  Eche- 
verria  was  hurt  by  the  indifference  of  the  public  towards 
his  first  volume,  he  withdrew  from  Buenos  Aires  to  the 
little  village  of  Mercedes  on  the  Rio  Negro.  The  poem 
Lara  voices  his  adieu.  After  describing  the  departure 
of  the  vessel,  the  poet  is  moved  to  sing  because  he  "re- 
members the  injuries  of  fate,"  he  calls  on  hope  and  bids 
good-by  to  love,  but  as  his  tears  choke  him,  he  is  forced 
to  desist.  The  most  original  poem  of  the  collection  is, 
El  y  Ellay  a  love  dialogue  which  especially  delighted  the 
young  ladies  of  Buenos  Aires.     The  form  of  this  poem 


departs  from  all  classic  standards  as  the  strophes  vary 
in  length  from  twenty-four  lines  to  a  single  line  of  passion- 
ate utterance.  The  volume  also  contained  several  pa- 
triotic appeals  which  expressed  the  feelings  of  the  public 
at  the  moment  and  helped  to  arouse  enthusiasm. 

The  success  of  this  volume  encouraged  Echeverria  to 
bring  out  in  1837,  Las  Rimas.  Besides  short  pieces  it 
contained  a  long  poem,  La  Cautiva,  which  put  into  prac- 
tice a  doctrine  previously  expressed  by  the  author,  in  a 
note  to  Los  Consuelos.  Poetry,  he  declared,  does  not 
enjoy  in  America  the  influence  which  it  possesses  in 
Europe.  "If  it  wishes  to  gain  influence,  it  must  have  an 
original  character  of  its  own,  reflecting  the  colors  of  the 
physical  nature  which  surrounds  us  and  be  the  most 
elevated  expression  of  our  predominant  ideas  and  of  the 
sentiments  and  passions  which  spring  from  the  shock  of 
our  social  interests^Only  thus,  free  from  the  bonds  of 
all  foreign  influence,  will  our  poetry  come  to  be  as  sub- 
lime as  the  Andes;  strange,  beautiful  and  varied  as  the 
fertile  earth,  which  produces  it.'* 

As  a  preface  to  La  Cautiva,  he  wrote:  "The  main  pur- 
pose of  the  author  has  been  to  paint  a  few  outlines  of  the 
poetical  character  of  the  desert;  and  in  order  not  to  reduce 
his  work  to  a  mere  description,  he  has  placed  in  the  vast 
solitude  of  the  pampa  two  ideal  beings,  or  two  souls 
united  by  the  double  bond  of  love  and  misfortune.  The 
desert  is  our  richest  patrimony  and  we  ought  to  try  and 
draw  from  its  breast  not  only  wealth  for  our  well-being, 
but  also  poetry  for  our  moral  pleasure  and  the  encourage- 
ment of  our  literature."  Thus  Echeverria  first  expressed 
a  doctrine  which  Spanish  Americans  have  generally  felt 


to  be  true  and  according  to  which,  consciously  or  other- 
wise, they  have  produced  in  literature,  whatever  is  really 

The  first  scene  of  La  Cautiva  is  laid  in  the  camp  of  a 
band  of  Indians  after  their  raid  on  a  village  of  whites. 
Exhausted  by  their  exertions  and  the  drunken  orgies  of 
celebration,  the  savages  fall  asleep.  The  silence  of  the 
Argentine  pampa  creeps  upon  them  and  their  captives. 
Most  important  of  these  is  Brian,  formerly  a  scourge  of 
the  Indians,  now  bound  between  two  lances  awaiting 
death  by  torture.  His  wife  Maria,  however,  is  not  bound; 
for  upon  her  the  Indian  cacique,  Loucoi,  had  cast  lustful 
glances.  When  sleep  furnishes  the  opportunity,  Maria 
plunges  a  dagger  into  Loucoi's  heart.  In  the  same  way 
marking  a  bloody  path  through  the  band  of  sleeping 
savages,  she  reaches  the  spot  where  her  husband  is  bound, 
cuts  him  loose  and  together  they  escape.  But  they  are 
hardly  gone  before  a  band  of  horsemen  surprise  the  camp, 
slay  the  Indians  and  free  the  captives;  though  to  their 
sorrow,  the  rescuers  are  unable  to  find  Brian  and  his 
wife.  In  the  meantime  the  latter  are  straining  limbs  and 
nerves  to  put  a  great  distance  between  them  and  their 
former  captors.  Brian,  however,  travels  with  difficulty 
on  account  of  his  wounds.  As  they  are  resting,  they  see 
a  cloud  of  smoke  swiftly  approaching.  The  pampa  is 
afire.  Brian,  scarcely  able  to  stir,  begs  his  wife  to  save 
herself;  but  she  sturdily  places  her  husband  on  her  back, 
makes  her  way  to  the  neighboring  river,  and  swims  to 
safety  on  the  opposite  bank.  Such  heroism,  nevertheless, 
is  vain  for  on  the  following  day  Brian  is  attacked  by 
fever  and  die^  Maria  sets  out  alone  to  cross  the  pampa. 


and  soon  meets  a  detachment  of  soldiers,  who  were  search- 
ing for  her  and  Brian.  Of  them  she  inquires  deliriously 
for  her  son  and  though  she  herself  had  related  his  murder 
to  her  husband,  she  expires  when  the  soldiers  tell  her 
that  her  son  had  been  killed. 

The  literary  significance  of  La  Cautiva  lies  in  its  revolu- 
tionary departure  in  form  from  the  classic  Spanish  ideal 
and  the  author's  success  in  carrying  out  his  purpose. 
The  Argentine  critic,  J.  M.  Gutierrez,  writes  that  "La 
Cautiva  is  a  masterpiece,  whose  perspectives  give  the 
most  complete  idea  of  the  sunburnt  immensity  of  the 

Echeverria,  taking  advantage  of  the  prestige  which 
his  verses  had  brought  him,  plunged  boldly  into  politics 
by  launching  a  sort  of  secret  society,  "La  Asociacion  de 
Mayo,"  in  June,  1837,  which  had  for  its  object  to  bring 
about  the  fall  of  Rosas.  The  main  principles  of  the  society 
were  expounded  by  Echeverria  in  a  pamphlet  entitled 
El  Dogma  socialista.  Despite  the  name  the  tone  of  the 
ideas  was  not  sd  much  socialistic  as  democratic  after  the 
manner  of  contemporary  French  writings. 

When  news  of  this  secret  society  reached  Rosas*  ears, 
the  dictator  lost  little  time  in  sending  his  agents  to  sup- 
press it.  Echeverria  took  refuge  in  the  country  at  some 
distance  from  the  city.  Then  occurred  a  rising  against 
Rosas  among  the  landed  proprietors  in  the  south  of  the 
province  of  Buenos  Aires.  Being  few  in  number  they 
could  not  long  withstand  his  soldiers  though  those  who 
escaped  after  the  battle  which  they  fought  took  ship  for 
Montevideo  where  they  joined  the  forces  of  General 
Lavalle.     The  heroism  of  the  unequal  conflict  inspired 


Echeverria  to  compose  a  poem  La  Insurreccion  del  sud 
de  la  Provincia  de  Buenos  Aires  en  i8jg.  The  poem  is 
merely  a  rhymed  chronicle  of  events.  Whatever  embel- 
lishments the  author  may  have  intended  to  make  had  to 
be  omitted  because  he  left  the  manuscript  behind  when 
the  approach  of  Rosas'  men  caused  his  hasty  flight.  It 
was  ten  years  before  the  manuscript  was  recovered  and 
the  poem  published.  Echeverria's  second  place  of  refuge 
was  Montevideo. 

In  that  city  he  was  merely  one  of  many  refugees.  As 
he  suflFered  severely  from  an  aflFection  of  the  heart  he  was 
unable  to  take  physical  part  in  the  armies  that  set  out 
against  Rosas.  Moreover,  he  appeared  to  his  fellows  as  a 
visionary.  His  pen,  however,  was  not  idle.  Among  his 
first  poems  were  two  of  patriotic  character  published  under 
/  the  title  of  Cantos  a  Mayo.  Then  borrowing  from  Byron's 
^  Parisina  the  principal  episode,  that  of  the  wronged  hus- 

band who  learns  from  his  wife's  lips  as  she  talks  in  her 
sleep  the  story  of  her  adultery  and  nevertheless  flees  from 
the  room  without  carrying  into  effect  his  impulse  to  kill, 
Echeverria  adapted  it  to  an  Argentine  environment. 
First  called  La  Guitarra,  the  poem  was  afterwards  named 
from  the  guilty  lady  Celia,  A  very  long  continuation 
or  sequel  of  this  poem  in  eleven  cantos  and  eleven  thousand 
lines  was  published  after  the  poet's  death  with  the  title 
El  Angel  caido.  Its  literary  value  is  correctly  characterized 
by  Menendez  y  Pelayo  thus: — "It  is  not  the  fall  of  an 
angel  but  the  fall  of  a  poet."  The  theme  is  a  presentation 
of  Don  Juan  in  Argentine  society,  but  he  is  not  a  person 
for  he  has  become  an  abstraction  expressing  the  author's 
moral  and  political  ideas. 


Better  and  more  interesting  at  least  in  its  descriptive 
part  is  another  long  poem,  Avellaneda,  intended  to  cele- 
brate the  heroism  of  a  man  by  that  name  who  died  in  the 
struggle  against  Rosas.  The  scene  is  laid  in  the  province 
of  Tucuman.  In  depicting  its  natural  beauties  Echeverria 
again  demonstrated  his  principles  concerning  the  Ameri- 
canization of  literature.  The  political  element  of  the 
poem  is  of  course  less  attractive. 

These  two  peculiarities  dominate  all  Argentine  litera- 
ture, and  as  Echeverria  put  them  forth  as  a  sort  of  theory 
of  aesthetics,  it  may  be  said  that  his  influence  has  pre- 
vailed during  most  of  the  century.  The  Americanization 
of  literature  which  he  advocated  in  a  note  to  the  Cautiva 
had  a  long  and  varied  development  in  Argentina  and 
found  in  other  countries  at  the  advent  of  naturalism  a 
responsive  echo.  And  his  conception  of  poetry  as  a  moral 
or  civilizing  agent  became  the  literary  creed  of  later 

The  Argentines  who  fled  from  the  tyranny  of  Rosas 
may  be  roughly  divided  into  two  groups,  those  who  found 
refuge  in  Chile  and  those  who  preferred  Montevideo. 
The  story  of  the  literary  activities  of  the  former  in  Chile 
on  account  of  their  undeniable  influence  in  that  country 
belongs  with  the  history  of  Chilean  literature.  The 
exiles  had  to  earn  a  precarious  living  by  their  pens,  but 
they  were  personally  more  secure  than  their  compatriots 
in  Uruguay.  The  latter  remained  in  the  thick  of  the  fight 
where  a  sudden  shift  of  fortune  would  have  thrown  them 
into  Rosas'  hands.  For  nine  years  his  army  and  fleet 
maintained  a  siege  of  Montevideo  from  1841  to  1850. 
In  the  latter  year  General  Urquiza  deserting  the  tyrant 


brought  his  forces  to  join  the  league  against  him.  In 
1852  occurred  the  battle  of  Monte  Caseros  which  termi- 
nated Rosas'  power. 

During  the  period  of  the  great  siege  Montevideo  was 
the  center  of  Argentine  letters,  and  their  main  theme 
anathema  of  Rosas.  The  foremost  wielder  of  political 
X  invective  was  Jose  Marmol  (1818-81).  At  the  age  of 
twenty  he  found  himself  in  prison  as  a  conspirator.  On 
the  walls  of  his  cell  he  scribbled  in  a  quatrain  his  first 
denunciation  of  the  tyrant  in  which  he  declared  that  the 
"barbarian"  could  never  put  shackles  on  his  mind.  The 
quatrain  became  MarmoFs  favorite  vehicle  of  expression 
for  his  passionate  hate.  The  sincerity,  the  variety,  and 
the  intensity  of  his  quatrains  rendered  them  famous. 
Making  Rosas  second  only  to  Satan  in  his  capacity  for 
evil,  they  depict  him  more  bloodstained  than  Attila  or 
Nero,  bloodguiltier  than  the  Atridae,  bloodthirstier  than 
a  ravening  tiger. 

For  the  class  of  readers  that  prefer  facts  to  objurgation 
Marmol  prepared  Amalia,  in  form  supposedly  a  historical 
novel  after  the  manner  of  Walter  Scottj,  but  more  exactly 
a  detailed  account  of  Rosas'  crimes  so  presented  as  to 
show  the  moral  degradation  of  Buenos  Aires.  Many 
episodes  are  introduced  solely  for  this  purpose.  For 
example,  Rosas  demonstrates  to  the  crowd  his  democratic 
ideals  by  compelling  his  daughter  to  receive  the  kisses  of 
a  rum-crazed  negro.  The  description  of  the  state  ball 
gives  an  opportunity  to  reveal  the  character  of  the  persons 
who  form  Rosas'  immediate  entourage,  their  base  flattery, 
the  vulgar  conversation  of  the  ladies.  The  narrative 
part  of  the  story  concerns  principally  the  acts  of  a  Daniel 


Bello,  himself  opposed  to  Rosas  but  protected  in  his 
operations  because  he  is  the  son  of  one  of  Rosas*  adherents. 
Though  carrying  on  various  intrigues  and  acting  as  a  spy 
for  those  who  are  plotting  in  Montevideo  for  an  uprising, 
Daniel  remains  unsuspected.  When  his  friend  Eduardo 
Belgrano  ventures  into  Buenos  Aires  on  a  mission,  Daniel 
is  able  to  save  his  life  even  after  Eduardo  has  been  severely 
wounded  and  left  for  dead  by  the  police  by  concealing 
him  in  Amalia's  house.  She  is  Daniel's  cousin.  She  takes 
so  much  interest  in  the  patient  that  she  falls  in  love  with 
him.  The  book  ends  with  a  description  of  their  wedding 
night.  Its  festivities  are  interrupted  by  the  police  who 
break  in  for  the  purpose  of  arresting  Eduardo  and  who 
kill  him. 

The  novel  Amalia  met  with  a  large  sale  in  Europe. 
Menendez  y  Pelayo  explains  this  fact  in  his  criticism. 
After  pointing  out  that  the  story  is  so  strange  as  to  be 
unreal,  that  one  involuntarily  asks  how  such  a  social 
condition  could  endure  so  long,  he  says,  "The  interest  of 
the  narration  is  very  great  and  one  drops  the  book  re- 

Marmol  further  utilized  his  experiences  and  sensations 
as  an  exile  in  composing  a  long  poem,  El  Peregrino.  It  is 
not  complete,  but  many  of  the  fragments  possess  great 
lyrical  beauty.  The  main  idea  of  the  poem  is  that  of  a . 
Childe  Harold  in  South  America.  With  descriptive  pas- 
sages concerning  the  clouds,  the  tropical  sunset,  the 
beauties  of  America,  Marmol  mingles  the  expression  of 
his  feelings,  his  love  for  his  wife,  his  religious  faith,  his 
grief  at  the  condition  of  his  native  land,  the  joy  of  loving 
even  in  the  midst  of  grief. 


The  drama  also  tempted  Marmol.  Little  praise  is 
accorded,  however,  to  the  two  dramas  which  he  wrote. 
El  Cruzado  and  El  Poeta.  The  latter  deals  with  the  love 
affairs  of  Carlos  and  Maria.  Carlos,  being  a  poet,  is 
poor  and  therefore  turned  away  from  Maria  by  her  father. 
Nevertheless  the  lovers  continue  to  communicate  even 
after  Carlos  is  thrown  into  prison  for  writing  political 
articles  against  the  government.  When  Maria  learns 
that  Carlos  is  to  be  exiled,  she  prevails  on  her  father  to 
use  his  influence  to  secure  the  poet's  release.  In  return 
she  promises  to  marry  Don  Enrique.  The  fifth  act  of 
the  play  opens  with  the  wedding  ceremony.  After  the 
vows  have  been  pronounced,  Carlos  appears  at  the  house 
and  gains  entrance  to  Maria's  room,  where  he  succeeds 
in  calling  her  for  an  interview.  Reproached  by  her  lover 
for  inconstancy,  she  tells  him  that  she  has  taken  poison. 
Then  Carlos  obtains  some  of  the  same  poison  and  swallows 
it.  She  dies  in  his  embrace,  but  Carlos  lives  long  enough 
to  hurl  curses  at  the  unhappy  father. 

Another  Argentine  exile  and  knight  of  the  pen  in  the 
7^  struggle  against  Rosas  was  Jose  Rivera  Indarte  (1814-45). 
At  the  early  age  of  twenty-one,  he  suffered  incarceration 
for  the  expression  of  his  opinions.  While  in  prison  the 
reading  of  the  Bible  and  Dante  determined  the  style  of 
his  poems  which  he  began  to  write  then.  After  his  release 
he  took  ship  for  North  America.  During  the  voyage  he 
fell  sick  with  an  attack  of  smallpox.  Being  isolated  and 
neglected,  it  was  a  marvel  that  he  lived  to  reach  Salem, 
Massachusetts.  When  news  came  to  him  of  the  emigra- 
tion of  his  friends  to  Montevideo  he  set  sail  for  that  port 
where  he  began  to  write  for  El  Nacional.    His  attack  on 


Rosas  developed  the  thesis  that  it  would  be  a  saintly 
action  to  kill  the  tyrant.  His  articles  being  largely  de- 
scriptive of  cruel  deeds  were  published  in  book  form  under 
the  title  Rosas  y  sus  Opositores  and  had  great  influence 
in  shaping  foreign  public  opinion.  His  poems,  published 
after  his  untimely  death,  from  consumption  contracted 
during  the  shattered  state  of  his  health,  contain  some 
political  satires  in  the  style  of  Marmol  but  without  the 
latter's  force.  His  patriotic  hymns  of  the  Argentine  emi- 
grants and  to  Lavalle  are  more  convincing.  In  his  ode 
on  the  battle  of  Caaguazu  he  introduced  an  apparition  of 
General  Belgrano  similar  to  the  apparition  of  the  Inca 
in  Olmedo's  famous  ode.  But  many  of  his  poems  are 
Biblical  paraphrases  or  imitations  collected  under  the 
title  of  Melodias  hebraicas,  which,  however,  are  rather 
prosaic  without  poetic  fire. 

Far  better  as  poetry  were  the  verses  of  Claudio  Mamerto 
Cuenca  (1812-52),  killed  at  the  battle  of  Monte-Caseros 
where  Rosas  was  overthrown.  He  was  a  surgeon  whom 
circumstances  had  compelled  to  remain  in  Buenos  Aires 
as  well  as  later  to  serve  with  the  tyrant's  army.  His 
reputation  among  the  patriots,  however,  was  saved  by 
the  verses  penned  before  the  battle  and  found  on  his 
body.  After  bitter  denunciation  they  declared  that  the 
hour  of  Rosas'  purging  had  arrived.  Cuenca's  literary 
remains  were  published  in  three  volumes  under  the  title 
of  Delirios  del  Corazbn.  Beside  many  lyrical  pieces  of 
considerable  inspiration  he  was  the  author  of  Don  Tadeo, 
a  comedy  of  manners  in  five  acts  and  a  drama,  Muza. 

In  the  army  that  defeated  Rosas  there  commanded  the 
artillery  a  young  man  of  thirty,  Bartolome  Mitre  (i82l-^)<;^ 


1906),  who  afterwards  proved  himself  to  possess  one  of 
the  strongest  and  sanest  intellects  in  Argentina.  A  cap- 
tain at  the  age  of  seventeen  in  the  first  siege  of  Monte- 
video, he  rose  rapidly  in  rank.  The  year  1848,  however, 
found  him  in  Chile  where  he  showed  that  he  could  wield 
a  pen  as  well  as  a  sword  by  editing  the  Mercurio  de  Val- 
paraiso. Among  his  companions  in  Montevideo  he  was 
known  also  as  a  poet. 

What  Echeverria  said  of  Mitre's  verses  in  1846  is 
interesting:  "His  muse  is  distinguished  among  his  con- 
temporaries by  the  manly  frankness  of  his  sentiments 
and  a  certain  martial  quality."  Now  listen  to  Mitre's 
own  comment  when  editing  his  poems  in  later  days:  "I 
love  my  verses  because  they  reflect  some  of  those  intense 
sorrows  and  some  of  those  solemn  moments  of  the  revolu- 
tion against  the  tyrant  Rosas.  I  have  another  reason 
for  hating  Rosas  and  the  publication  of  these  rhymes  is 
my  revenge.  On  account  of  him  I  have  had  to  bear  arms, 
travel  the  country,  become  a  politician,  and  plunge  into 
the  stormy  course  of  revolutions  without  being  able  to 
follow  my  literary  vocation." 

Mitre's  poems  were  nearly  all  written  before  1846. 
They  possess  high  literary  and  lyrical  qualities.  In  the 
elegies  on  the  deaths  of  certain  individuals,  as  General 
Lavalle,  who  had  fallen  in  the  civil  war,  there  is  a  display 
of  real  feeling  which  surpasses  that  of  his  contemporaries. 
One  of  his  anti-Rosas  pieces  became  a  popular  song.  The 
title  Invdlido  refers  to  the  old  veteran  who  recites  the 
story  of  his  services  to  the  country  before  begging  "una 
limosna  por  Dios."  The  last  stanza  is  the  poet's  own 
plaint  in  this  wise: 


La  Republica  Argentina 
Bajo  el  yugo  de  un  tirano 
Pide  al  mundo  americano 
Una  limosna  por  Dios! 

One  section  of  Mitre's  Rimas  is  devoted  to  Armontas 
de  la  Pampa.  Therein  he  shows  himself  a  disciple  of 
Echeverria  by  seeking  inspiration  in  nature,  or  national 
customs.  El  Ombu  en  medio  de  la  Pampa  reveals  a  rare 
love  for  trees.  El  Pato  describes  a  gaucho  game  by  that 
name.  In  fact  he  is  one  of  the  first  to  attempt  a  poetical 
treatment  of  the  Argentine  gaucho  by  telling  the  legend 
of  the  famous  Santos  Vega.  Again  he  sings  El  Cab  alio  del 
Gaucho  with  all  the  enthusiasm  and  love  for  horses  which 
he  himself  undoubtedly  felt. 

His  reason  for  ceasing  to  write  poems  is  interesting. 
He  says:  "At  twenty  years  of  age,  I  dreamed  of  immortal 
renown;  the  laurels  of  Homer  robbed  me  of  sleep.  Soon 
I  understood  that  I  could  not  even  aspire  to  live  in  the 
memory  of  more  than  one  generation  as  a  poet  nor  was 
our  society  sufficiently  mature  to  produce  a  poet  laureate." 

Politics  occupied  Mitre  after  the  return  to  Buenos 
Aires.  In  the  fight  of  the  city  against  the  confederation 
in  1 861,  he  led  the  city's  military  forces.  Being  successful 
he  was  proclaimed  dictator  of  the  new  federation  of  which 
Buenos  Aires  became  the  undisputed  seat  of  the  govern- 
ment. To  his  wisdom  and  moderation  was  due  the  fact 
that  the  old  bitter  differences  between  the  city  and  the 
provinces  lapsed  to  the  point  of  disappearance.  In  1865 
he  led  the  Argentine  forces  in  the  war  against  Solano 
Lopez,  dictator  of  Paraguay.  In  1868  his  term  as  presi- 
dent came  to  an  end,  and  D.  F.  Sarmiento  was  quietly 


elected  and  inaugurated.  Though  Mitre  was  twice  again 
a  candidate  for  the  presidency  and  leader  of  insurgent 
forces,  his  main  business  in  life  was  literary. 

In  1869  Mitre  founded  La  Nacion,  to-day  one  of  the 
leading  newspapers  in  the  country.  His  Historia  de  Bd- 
grano,  originally  published  in  1858,  he  improved  and 
brought  out  in  new  editions.  His  monumental  work, 
however,  was  La  Historia  de  San  Martin,  printed  in  1888. 
It  was  such  a  history  as  one  great  soldier  could  write  of 

During  Mitre's  administration  as  president  there  was 
much  literary  activity  in  Buenos  Aires.  Three  literary 
journals,  La  Revista  argentina,  El  Correo  del  Domingo, 
and  La  Revista  de  Buenos  Aires,  flourished.  The  last 
directed  by  Vicente  G.  Quesada  and  Miguel  Navarro 
Viola  was  the  official  organ  of  an  influential  literary  so- 
ciety, the  Circulo  literario,  among  whose  members  were 
numbered  nearly  everybody  of  prominence  in  the  city. 
The  study  of  Argentine  history  absorbed  much  of  their 
attention,  and  occupied  more  than  half  the  pages  of  the 
>N  A    contributor    was    Luis    L.    Dominguez    (1819-98), 

whose  historical  studies  were  later  printed  as  Historia 
argentina,  covering  the  period  from  the  discovery  of 
America  to  the  beginning  of  the  revolution  against  Spain. 
Among  his  fellow  exiles  in  Montevideo  he  made  himself 
remarked  for  his  verses,  especially  those  which  he  pre- 
sented at  the  famous  literary  contest  of  1841.  In  verses 
of  a  romantic  type  he  quite  caught  the  spirit  of  the  master 
Echeverria.  And  a  descriptive  poem  of  his.  El  Ombu, 
has  remained  a  classic  of  Argentine  poetry.    About  that 


shade  tree  Dominguez  made  the  whole  of  Argentine  life 
revolve.  The  opening  stanza  of  the  poem,  perhaps  little 
more  than  a  jingle,  is  known  by  heart  by  every  school 

Cada  comarca  en  la  tierra 
Tiene  un  rasgo  prominente: 
El  Brasil  su  sol  ardiente, 
Minas  de  plata  el  Peru, 
Montevideo  su  cerro, 
Buenos  Aires,  patria  hermosa, 
Tiene  su  pampa  grandiosa; 
La  pampa  tiene  el  Ombu. 

Dominguez,  during  Mitre's  administration,  held  im- 
portant governmental  positions  and  later  rose  to  promi- 
nence in  the  diplomatic  service  of  his  country. 

Another  historical  writer  of  the  same  group  was  Vicente 
Fidel  L6pez^i8n;-iQ03),  son  of  the  author  of  the  Ar- 
gentine national  hymn.  His  Manual  de  Historia  argentina 
became  the  standard  text-book  for  schools.  His  place 
of  refuge  from  the  tyranny  of  Rosas  was  Chile  where  he 
was  one  of  the  Argentine  journalists  so  influential  in  the 
literary  history  of  that  country.  There  he  collected  the 
material  for  some  historical  novels  which  were  numbered 
among  the  first  of  the  kind  to  be  written  by  Argentines. 

At  one  time  a  fellow  exile  with  Lopez  in  Chile  was  Juan 
Bautista  Alberdi  (1810-84),  ^  "^ost  voluminous  and 
influential  Argentine  writer.  When  a  youth  of  fifteen 
he  was  given  one  of  the  public  scholarships  at  the  Colegio 
de  Ciencias  morales  founded  by  Rivadavia  whose  fore- 
sight recognized  the  value  of  education  in  a  democracy. 
Being  a  member  of  the  Asociacion  de  Mayo  in  1837  he 


was  obliged  to  seek  safety  from  Rosas  by  flight.  In  Monte- 
video he  completed  his  studies  for  the  doctorate  of  law. 
At  the  same  time  he  was  active  in  journalistic  work  by 
writing  humorous  descriptive  articles  of  manners  and 
by  contributing  to  the  comic  sheet,  illustrated  by  carica- 
tures, Muera  Rosas,  one  of  the  many  forms  of  attack  on 
the  tyrant.  In  1843  Alberdi  went  to  Europe  on  a  ship 
named  the  "Eden"  and  in  fantastic  prose  wrote  out  im- 
pressions of  the  voyage  which  he  proudly  published  as  a 
poem  with  the  same  name.  But  his  enduring  reputation 
is  due  to  a  critical  examination  of  Argentine  history  and 
the  suggestions  for  a  suitable  form  of  government  for  the 
country  contained  in  his  Bases  para  la  Organizacion  de 
la  Republica  Argentina. 

This  book  was  written  in  Chile  after  his  return  from 
Europe  while  the  final  campaign  against  Rosas  was  being 
waged  by  General  Urquiza.  When  a  congress  met  after 
Rosas'  overthrow  for  the  purpose  of  preparing  a  consti- 
tution for  the  republic,  the  Bases  directed  the  otherwise 
conflicting  and  vague  ideas  of  its  members  along  logical 
lines  so  that  Alberdi's  suggestions  became  to  all  intents 
the  constitution  of  the  Argentine  republic.  A  curious 
synchronism  of  events  has  been  noted  herewith.  In  IVfay, 
1 85 1,  General  Urquiza  declared  his  revolution  against 
Rosas  and  began  to  prepare  his  campaign.  In  May,  1852, 
Alberdi's  book  came  from  the  press.  In  May,  1853,  the 
constitutional  convention  voted  the  constitution.  The 
foreign  reader  should  remember  that  May  is  the  glorious 
month  of  Argentine  history,  for  the  twenty-fifth  is  the 
national  holiday. 

Argentina's   indebtedness   to   Alberdi   was    recognized 


two  years  later  by  a  decree  of  the  government  to  deposit 
in  the  national  archives  certain  of  his  writings  signed 
with  his  autograph  and  to  print  at  public  expense  an 
edition  of  his  works.  Alberdi  was  entrusted  with  impor- 
tant diplomatic  missions  in  Europe,  but  he  did  not 
always  meet  the  views  of  his  compatriots  respecting  their 
foreign  policy.  His  later  years  were  spent  for  the  most 
part  in  Europe  in  the  diligent  production  of  political 
and  economic  writings. 

Among  the  expatriated  Argentines  the  one  who  became>^ 
the  most  thorough  man  of  letters  was  Juan  Maria  Gutier-  Y^ 
rez  (1809-78).  With  Echeverria  and  Alberdi  he  was  ac- 
tive in  the  Asociacion  de  Mayo  and  suffered  three  months* 
imprisonment  in  Rosas*  jails  before  going  into  exile.  Gu- 
tierrez was  initiated  by  Echeverria  ihto  his  literary  as 
well  as  his  political  ideals,  for  within  a  year  after  the  pub- 
lication of  La  Cautiva,  Gutierrez  wrote  Los  Amores  del 
Payador,  a  long  poem  closely  following  the  master's 
doctrine  of  the  Americanization  of  literature  of  which 
he  remained  an  ardent  advocate.  In  Montevideo  in  1 841, 
Gutierrez  distinguished  himself  by  winning  the  first  prize 
in  a  literary  contest  by  an  ode.  La  Revolucion  de  Mayo, 
It  is  praised  by  Menendez  y  Pelayo  because  it  "departs 
greatly  from  the  current  vulgarity  of  the  patriotic  odes,** 
though  at  the  same  time  the  Spanish  critic  is  very  im- 
patient with  the  poet  for  his  anti-Spanish  expressions. 
Refinement  and  good  taste,  however,  are  the  marks  of 
Gutierrez*  poems. 

In  1846  Gutierrez  published  a  collection  of  the  poems 
written  by  Spanish  Americans  with  the. title  of  America 
Poetica.    Its  purpose  of  attracting  the  attention  of  Euro- 


peans  undoubtedly  succeeded.  In  the  matter  of  taste  in 
selection  subsequent  collections  have  not  excelled  it. 

Gutierrez  passed  a  part  of  his  period  of  exile  in  Chile 
and  Peru  where  he  materially  broadened  his  knowledge 
of  literature.  In  Chile,  he  was  one  of  the  group  of  Argen- 
tine exiles  who  were  prominent  in  writing  for  the  news- 

After  the  fall  of  Rosas,  Gutierrez  participated  in  poli- 
tics. He  was  a  prominent  member  of  the  constitutional 
convention  of  1853.  And  as  minister  of  foreign  affairs 
he  negotiated  an  important  treaty  with  Spain.  Recogni- 
tion of  Gutierrez'  scholarship  led  to  his  appointment  as 
rector  of  the  University  of  Buenos  Aires,  a  post  which 
he  held  for  many  years. 

Gutierrez'  interest  in  literary  studies  and  his  contri- 
butions to  the  Revista  de  Buenos  Aires  made  it  one  of  the 
most  important  reviews  in  America.  Afterwards  printed 
in  book  form  his  Bihliografia  de  la  primera  Imprenta  de 
Buenos  Aires  and  the  Estudios  biogrdficos  y  criticos  sohre 
algunos  Poetas  anteriores  al  Siglo  XIX  made  his  name 
widely  known  among  scholars.  The  presentation  of  a 
copy  of  the  latter  to  George  Ticknor  was  the  origin  of 
some  interesting  correspondence  between  the  two  men. 
To  the  end  of  his  life  Gutierrez  encouraged  the  production 
of  literature,  as  is  evident  by  the  many  introductions  usu- 
ally enthusiastic  in  tone  which  he  wrote  to  accompany 
the  volumes  of  younger  men.  From  1871  to  1877  he  con- 
ducted with  V.  F.  Lopez  the  Revista  del  Rio  de  la  Plata 
whose  pages  were  the  medium  of  publication  for  their 
literary  and  historical  studies. 

Among  the  enemies  of  Rosas  the  man  who  most  nearly 


approached  positive  genius  was  DomingoFaustinoSar- 
miento  (181 1-88).  This  fact  is  partly  recognized  in  the 
epithet,  "loco  Sarmiento/*  by  which  Rosas*  official 
journal  in  Buenos  Aires  was  accustomed  to  refer  to  him. 
His  individuality  was  as  uncommon  as  his  intelligence. 
From  almost  absolute  indigence  he  rose  by  personal  en- 
deavor to  be  presidfint-QL  the^Argeatine_E.epublic.  His 
schooling  was  limited  to  a  few  years  in  a  primary  school, 
but  he  utilized  every  means  falling  to  his  command  to 
extend  his  education.  One  of  the  books  which  came  into 
his  possession  about  the  age  of  sixteen  was  the  auto- 
biography of  Benjjimin  Franklin  who  thereafter  became 

The  vicissitudes  of  his  career  began  at  about  the  same 
age.  Having  been  summoned  to  attend  military  drill  by 
the  governor  of  his  province,  he  refused  and  soon  there- 
after joined  an  uprising  against  the  party  in  power.  As 
the  result  of  this  act,  after  barely  escaping  with  his  life, 
he  found  himself  an  exile  in  Chile. 

The  peculiarity  of  Sarmiento's  politics  resided  in  the 
fact  that  he  was  a  provincial  partisan  of  the  citizens  of 
tiuenos  Aires  who  were  demanding  a  strongly  centralized 
government  with  the  city  at  the  head.  In  fact  after  the 
return  from  his  first  exile,  he  became  a  member  of  a  branch 
of  Echeyerria's  Asociacion  de  Mayo.  On  the  other  hand 
Rosas  represented  the  federalistic  theory  which  accorded 
practical  autonomy  to  the  provinces,  each  ruled  by  a 
governor.  Though  nominally  appointed  by  the  govern- 
ment at  Buenos  Aires,  these  governors  were  local  political 
bosses  or  caudillos,  who  like  bandit  chieftains  were  able 
by  personal  strength  to  maintain  their  positions.     Con- 


sequently  risings  in  the  provinces  though  theoretically 
in  support  of  the  centralizing  tendencies  of  the  unitarian 
party  were  really  directed  against  the  local  caudillo.  The 
results  of  such  fights  were  usually  decisive,  because  the 
defeated  were  slaughtered  or  driven  into  exile.  Sarmiento 
belonged  in  the  province  of  San  Juan,  situated  just  below 
the  Andes  mountains  through  whose  passes  he  more  than 
once  journeyed  into  safety  in  Chile. 

The  full  story  of  Sarmiento's  participation  in  the  fighting 
in  his  own  country  and  his  efforts  to  earn  a  living  in  Chile 
is  needless  here.  In  regard  to  the  latter  it  is  sufficient  to 
say  that  teaching  school  and  writing  for  the  papers  were 
the  most  important  at  the  time  and  in  their  results  on  his 
subsequent  life.  His  readiness  to  enter  into  a  controversy 
and  the  biting  character  of  his  clever  satire  made  him 
many  enemies.  But  a  Chilean  politician,  Manuel  Montt, 
afterwards  president  of  Chile,  not  only  made  use  of  his 
brilliant  journalistic  ability  but  also  stuck  by  Sarmiento 
through  thick  and  thin.  Sarmiento's  role,  in  the  outburst 
of  literary  activity,  which  followed  his  criticism  of  Andres 
Bello's  poem  on  El  Incendio  de  la  Compaiiia  is  elsewhere 

This  preceded  the  establishment  of  the  University  of 
Chile  of  which  Bello  was  appointed  the  first  rector,  while 
Sarmiento  was  given  a  place  in  the  faculty  of  philosophy 
and  humanities.  At  the  first  session  of  the  faculty,  he  read 
a  paper  proposing  certain  changes  in  spelling  Spanish 
which  were  later  adopted.  Partly  to  Sarmiento's  initiative 
as  well  as  to  Bello's  scholarship  is  due  the  fact  that,  of  all 
countries  where  Spanish  is  spoken,  Chile  has  the  credit  of 
1  See  page  198. 


Introducing  reforms_jn__ojlliQgraphy.  Sarmiento  also 
interested  himself  in  the  introduction  in  the  primary 
schools  of  improvedjethods  of  teaching, children  how  to 
read^^  And  at  the  instance  of  Montt  he  was  made  the 
principal  of  the  newly  established  normal  school.  By  the 
year  1845,  however,  the  political  situation  claimed  all  his 
time  for  the  editing  of  El  Progreso  in  support  of  his  patron 
Montt.  Then  appeared  as  daily  articles  the  substance  of 
the  book  to  which  Sarmiento  chiefly  owes  his  literary 
fame,  Facundo  0  la  Civilizacion  yja  Barbarie. 
Aj  This  book,  nominally  the  biography  of  Facundo  Quiroga, 
the  caudillo  lieutenant  of  Rosas,  performs  for  the  latter's 
regime  the  same  damnatory  service  as  MarmoFs  verses. 
Perhaps  it  was  even  more  widely  known.  As  the  articles 
were  promptly  reprinted  in  Montevideo,  it  is  not  impossi- 
ble that  they  suggested  to  Marmol  his  treatment  of  Rosas 
in  the  celebrated  novel  Amalia  published  five  or  six  years 
later.  Facundo  Quiroga  had  been  active  in  Sarmiento's 
native  province  and  it  was  to  escape  death  at  his  hands 
that  Sarmiento  had  first  taken  the  road  to  Chile  at  the 
age  of  twenty.  The  tale  of  Quiroga's  atrocities  occupies 
only  the  central  part  of  the  book  by_H[ay^  illustration  to 
the  economic  and  political  principles  developed  in  the 
remainder.  The  opening_cha4iters__are_  devoted  to  a  de- 
scription of  the  Argentine  country,  both  brilliant  and 
masterful,  and  to  the  student  of  Argentine  history  indis- 
'pensable.  The  concluding  chapters  give  an  exposition  of 
Sarmiento's  political  ideas  which  undoubtedly  assisted  in 
laising  him  to  the  presidency  of  the  republic. 
^  The  physical  conditions  of  the  Argentine,  the  isolation 
and  primitive  ignorance  of  the^aucho,  his  belief  in  forj:e 


as  the  only  means  of  overcoming  iJi£  diflB-Cukles^jofJife, 
his  consequent  contempt  for  a  civilizatiQEL- based  on  in- 
telligence, are  the  causes,  according  to  Sarmiento,  of  social 
anarchy  in  that  country.  The  gau^o  thus  typifiesj)ar- 
barism  in  strife  with  civilization  exemplified  by  the  city  of 
Buenos  Aires.  Without  the  support  of  the  local  caudillos, 
such  as  Facundo  Quiroga,  a  tyranny  like  that  of  Rosas 
would  be  impossible.  But  even  Rosas  face  to  face  with 
the  difficulties  of  government  was  obliged  to  practice 
unitarian  principles,  "though  the  label  on  the  bottle  said 
differently."  The  Argentine  Republic  without  rivers  and 
mountains  to  mark  natural  boundaries  can  "be  only  one 
and  indivisible."  So  thought  Sarmiento  in  1845,  but  after 
wider  experience  from  his  travels  in  the  United  States  he 
became  a  champion  of  the  federal  principle  which  finally 
prevailed  in  Argentina. 

Sarmiento,  believing  that  his  book  Facundo  would  open 
a  way  for  him  in  Europe,  desired  to  visit  it.  In  this  pur- 
pose he  was  assisted  by  his  staunch  friend  Manuel  Montt, 
who  procured  for  him  a  commissionership  ostensibly  for 
the  purpose  of  studying  European  schools  with  a  view  of 
finding  possible  reforms  for  Chilean  schools.  Throughout 
his  European  tour  Sarmiento  industriously  made  inspec- 
tion of  educational  systems  of  which  he  published  an 
interesting  report,  DeJ^_EdAuacwn^j^opular,  But  from 
the  point  of  view  of  literature  his  book  published  at  the 
same  time,  Viajes  por  Europa,  Africa  y  America  is  more 
important  and  interesting.  The  latter  was  widely  re- 
produced in  various  journals.  It  consists  of  a  series  of 
brilliant  pictures  arranged  to  suit  the  political  ideas  of  the 
writer  but  drawn  with  such  clearness  of  detail  that  the 


unbiased  reader  may  examine  them  with  pleasure.  He 
portrays  France  regenerated  by  its  great  revolution  and 
placed  at  the  head  of  humanity;  on  the  other  hand,  Spain 
lies  prostrate  amid  the  artistic  ruins  of  her  former  splen- 
dor; the  future,  however,  belongs  to  the  rising  culture 
of  North  America.  The  anti-Spanish  character  of  this 
book  called  forth  a  reply  from  a  satirical  writer,  then 
popular  in  Spain,  Juan  Martinez  Villergas  who  at- 
tempted to  counteract  its  effect  by  a  pamphlet,  Sarmen- 
ticido  0  a  mal  Sarmiento.  But  putting  aside  the  po- 
litical reflections,  Sarmiento's  Viajes  is  of  its  kind  good 

After  an  absence  of  three  years,  Sarmiento  returned  to 
Chile  by  way  of  North  America  and  Cuba.  Political 
affairs  in  Argentina  were  beginning  to  look  toward  the 
fall  of  Rosas.  Sarmiento  attacked  him  so  vigorously  in 
the  press,  that  Rosas  called  on  the  Chilean  government  to 
forbid  Sarmiento  the  right  to  continue  his  activity,  a 
request  which  was  promptly  refused.  Sarmiento  replied 
by  a  pamphlet,  discussing  the  form  of  government  suitable 
for  the  country  after  Rosas*  fall.  Sarmiento  was  plainly 
endeavoring  to  make  himself  a  central  figure  in  any  re- 
construction of  the  government.  To  further  this  pur- 
pose he  published,  Recuerdos  de  Provinciay  a  series  of 
sketches  ajid_ anecdotes  about  himself,  his  parents,  rela- 
tives and  friends.  The  student  of  literature  must 
recognize  the  lifelike  quality  of  his  characterization 
equal  in  many  respects  to  Addison's  famous  De  Cov- 
erley  papers.  To  Sarmiento's  numerous  enemies,  the 
book  seemed  only  another  instance  of  the  man's  over- 
whelming vanity, — so    great,   according   to   the  Chilean 


Benjamin  Vicuna  Mackenna,  that  the  whole  pampa  would 
not  hold  it.^ 

Accordingly  when  General  Jose  Urquiza,  the  caudillo  of 
the  province  of  Entre  Rios,  hitherto  the  strongest  sup- 
porter of  Rosas,  raised  the  banner  of  revolt,  Sarmiento 
joined  his  army.  General  Urquiza,  however,  after  the 
victory  at  Monte  Caseros,  disappointed  his  followers  by 
continuing  on  his  own  account  the  personal  government  of 
his  predecessor.  Sarmiento  returned  to  Chile  once  more 
to  engage  in  journalism.  But  his  stay  was  short,  for 
when  Buenos  Aires  rebelled  successfully  against  Urquiza, 
Sarmiento  came  again  to  the  city.  From  1855,  he  played  a 
prominent  part  in  politics.  After  the  battle  of  Pavon 
where  Mitre*s  defeat  of  Urquiza  decided  for  all  time  the 
question  of  constitutional  government  for  the  Argentine,, 
Sarmiento  was  sent  to  the  outlying  provinces  as  auditor 
general  of  the  armies,  a  position  which  gave  him  great 
influence.  It  helped  him  to  become  governor  of  his  native 
province  of  San  Juan  to  which  office  he  was  elected  in 
February,  1862.  He  became  so  arbitrary  and  independent 
that  he  worried  the  central  government  at  Buenos  Aires. 
President  Mitre  solved  the  difficulty  by  appointing  him 
ambassador  to  Chile  and  later  minister  to  the  United 
States.  While  in  the  latter  country  in  1867  he  was 
elected  to  the  presidency  of  Argentina. 

Sarmiento's  administration  was  marked  in  the  matter 
of  progress  by  the  completion  of  the  railroad  from  Rosario 
to  Cordoba,  an  event  which  was  celebrated  by  an  exposi- 
tion in  Cordoba.  The  President's  journey  thither  was  a 
continuous  ovation  because  among  the  provincials,  if 
*  "su  vanidad  no  cabe  en  toda  la  Pampa." 


not  in  Buenos  Aires,  he  was  popular.  At  his  suggestion 
also  a  naval  academy  was  founded  and  three  vessels  of 
war  purchased.  He  caused  to  be  put  in  effect  the  clause 
of  the  constitution  calling  for  the  establishment  of  a 
national  Argentine  Bank. 

On  the  other  hand,  his  administration  was  harassed  by 
the  outbreak  in  Entre  Rios  of  two  uprisings  by  the  cau- 
dillo  Lopez  Jordan^  who  had  assassinated  the  old  leader 
General  Urquiza.  The  second  time  Sarmiento  proposed 
to  deal  with  the  outlaw  in  the  manner  followed  in  the 
United  States  at  the  time  of  Lincoln's  assassination, 
namely,  by  putting  a  heavy  price  on  the  bandit's  head. 
The  proposition  was  rejected  by  the  Congress  and  by 
public  opinion  on  the  ground  that  it  was  an  inalienable 
right  of  a  man  of  Spanish  race  to  start  a  rebellion  and 
therefore  it  would  be  wrong  to  treat  him  like  a  criminal. 
Lopez  Jordan  replied  to  Sarmiento  by  hiring  some  Italian 
sailors  to  murder  him,  an  attempt  which  happily  failed. 
Sarmiento,  on  account  of  the  rigidity  of  his  character, 
was  not  popular,  but  his  administration  was  certainly 
an  era  of  progress. 

Though  Sarmiento  retired  from  the  presidency  in  1874 
he  did  not  withdraw  from  public  life.  It  is  needless  to 
follow  his  various  activities  here.  It  is  sufficient  to  call 
attention  to  the  fact  that  his  interest  in  the  cause  of  popu- 
lar education  was  still  predominant,  and  among  other 
offices  held  by  him  he  was  the  first  national  superin- 
tendent of  Argentine  schools,  and  effected  many  reforms. 
In  recognition  of  the  courtesies  shown  Sarmiento  in  the 
United  States,  especially  in  Boston,  where  he  imbibed 
many  of  his  ideas  about  schools  from  acquaintance  with 


Horace  Mann,  the  Argentine  government  in  191 3  pre- 
sented that  city  with  a  statue  of  their  great  educator  and 
former  president. 

The  statue  is  also  a  symbol  of  the  growth  after  his 
death  of  the  appreciation  by  his  countrymen  of  Sarmien- 
to's  services  to  his  country.  In  his  lifetime  his  advocacy 
of  various  North  American  ideas  was  resented  and  most 
of  those  whose  adoption  he  forced  were  discarded.  In 
the  judgment  of  Paul  Groussac,  the  able  librarian  of  the 
National  Library  at  Buenos  Aires,  Sarmiento  is,  in  the 
Emersonian  sense,  "the  representative  man  of  the  South 
American  intellect";  and  "the  most  genuine  and  en- 
joyable writer  of  South  America,  the  rude  and  sincere 
colorist  of  his  native  plains." 

Though  the  officially  printed  collection  of  Sarmiento's 
writings  fill  fifty  volumes,  his  literary  fame  is  based  on 
those  already  mentioned.  The  characteristics  of  hjs_st5de, 
its  swift  movement,  his  ability  to  select  the  strikingjietail 
or  apt  anecdote,  may  be  partly  illustrated  by  the  follow- 
ing extract  from  the  description  of  Argentina  in  the  first 
part  of  Facundo.^  Moreover,  no  better  introduction  could 
be  given  to  a  study  of  the  development  of  the  most  original 
of  all  Spanish-American  poetry,  that  pertaining  to  the 

There  is  another  poetry  which  echoes  over  the  solitary  plains, 
the  popular,  natural,  and  irregular  poetry  of  the  gaucho.  In 
1840,  Echeverria,  then  a  young  man,  lived  some  months  in  the 

1  Facundo  was  translated  by  Mrs.  Horace  Mann  and  published  under 
the  title  of  Life  in  the  Argentine  Republic  in  the  Time  of  Tyrants,  Boston, 
1868.  The  volume  also  contains  other  extracts  from  Sarmiento's  writ- 
ings, especially  from  the  Recuerdos  de  Provincia  dealing  with  his  family. 


country,  where  the  fame  of  his  verses  upon  the  pampa  had  al- 
ready preceded  him;  the  gauchos  surrounded  him  with  respect 
and  affection,  and  when  a  new-comer  showed  symptoms  of  the 
scorn  he  felt  for  the  little  minstrel,  some  one  whispered,  "He  is 
a  poet,"  and  that  word  dispelled  every  prejudice. 

It  is  well  known  that  the  guitar  is  the  popular  instrument 
of  the  Spanish  race;  it  is  also  common  in  South  America.  The 
majo  or  troubadour  is  discoverable  in  the  gaucho  of  the  country, 
and  in  the  townsman  of  the  same  class.  The  cielito,  the  dance 
of  the  pampas,  is  animated  by  the  same  spirit  as  the  Spanish 
jaleo,  the  dance  of  Andalusia;  the  dancer  makes  castanets  of  his 
fingers;  all  his  movements  disclose  the  majo;  the  action  of  his 
shoulders,  his  gestures,  all  his  ways,  from  that  in  which  he  puts 
on  his  hat,  to  his  style  of  spitting  through  his  teeth,  all  are  of 
the  pure  Andalusian  type. 

The  name  of  gaucho  outlaw  is  not  applied  wholly  as  an  un- 
complimentary epithet.  The  law  has  been  for  many  years  in 
pursuit  of  him.  His  name  is  dreaded,  spoken  under  the  breath, 
but  not  in  hate,  and  almost  respectfully.  He  is  a  mysterious 
personage;  his  abode  is  the  pampa;  his  lodgings  are  the  thistle 
fields;  he  lives  on  partridges  and  hedgehogs,  and  whenever  he 
is  disposed  to  regale  himself  upon  a  tonpue,  he  lassos  a  cow, 
throws  her  without  assistance,  kills  her,  takes  his  favorite  morsel, 
and  leaves  the  rest  for  the  carrion  birds.  The  gaucho  outlaw 
will  make  his  appearance  in  a  place  just  left  by  soldiers,  will  talk 
in  a  friendly  way  with  the  admiring  group  of  good  gauchos  around 
him;  provide  himself  with  tobacco,  yerba  mate,  which  makes 
a  refreshing  beverage,  and  if  he  discovers  the  soldiers,  he  mounts 
his  horse  quietly  and  directs  his  steps  leisurely  to  the  wilderness, 
not  even  deigning  to  look  back.  He  is  seldom  pursued;  that 
would  be  killing  horses  to  no  purpose,  for  the  beast  of  the  gaucho 
outlaw  is  a  bay  courser,  as  noted  in  his  own  way  as  his  master. 
If  he  ever  happens  to  fall  unawares  into  the  hands  of  the  soldiers, 
he  sets  upon  the  densest  masses  of  his  assailants,  and  breaks 
through  them,  with  the  help  of  a  few  slashes  left  by  his  knife 
upon  the  faces  or  bodies  of  his  opponents;  and  lying  along  the 
ridge  of  his  horse's  back  to  avoid  the  bullets  sent  after  him,  he 


hastens  toward  the  wilderness,  until  having  left  his  pursuers  at 
a  convenient  distance,  he  pulls  up  and  travels  at  his  ease.  The 
poets  of  the  vicinity  add  this  new  exploit  to  the  biography  of 
the  desert  hero,  and  his  renown  flies  through  all  the  vast  region 
around.  '^Sometimes  he  appears  before  the  scene  of  a  rustic 
festival  with  a  young  woman  whom  he  has  carried  off,  and 
takes  a  place  in  the  dance  with  his  partner,  goes  through  the 
figures  of  the  cielito,  and  disappears,  unnoticed.  Another  day 
he  brings  the  girl  he  has  seduced,  to  the  house  of  her  offended 
family,  sets  her  down  from  his  horse's  croup,  and  reckless  of  the 
parents'  curses  by  which  he  is  followed,  quietly  betakes  himself 
to  his  boundless  abode. 

And  now  we  have  the  idealization  of  this  life  of  resistance, 
civilization,  barbarism,  and  danger.  The  gaucho  Cantor  corre- 
sponds to  the  singer,  bard,  or  troubadour  of  the  Middle  Ages. 
The  Cantor  has  no  fixed  abode;  he  lodges  where  night  surprises 
him;  his  fortune  consists  in  his  verses  and  in  his  voice.  Wherever 
the  wild  mazes  of  the  cielito  are  threaded,  wherever  there  is  a 
glass  of  wine  to  drink,  the  Cantor  has  his  place  and  his  particular 
part  in  the  festival.  The  Argentine  gaucho  only  drinks  when 
excited  by  music  and  verse,  and  every  grocery  has  its  guitar 
ready  for  the  hands  of  the  Cantor  who  perceives  from  afar 
where  the  help  of  his  "gay  science'*  is  needed,  by  the  group  of 
horses  about  the  door. 

The  Cantor  intersperses  his  heroic  songs  with  the  tale  of  his 
own  exploits.  Unluckily  his  profession  of  Argentine  bard  does 
not  shield  him  from  the  law.  He  can  tell  of  a  couple  of  stabs  he 
has  dealt,  of  one  or  two  "misfortunes"  (homicides)  of  his,  and 
of  some  horse  or  girl  he  carried  off. 

To  conclude,  the  original  poetry  of  the  minstrel  is  clumsy, 
monotonous,  and  irregular,  when  he  resigns  himself  to  the  in- 
spiration of  the  moment.  It  is  occupied  rather  with  narration 
than  with  the  expression  of  feeling,  and  is  replete  with  imagery 
relating  to  the  open  country,  to  the  horse,  and  to  the  scenes  of 
the  wilderness,  which  makes  it  metaphorical  and  grandiose. 
When  he  is  describing  his  own  exploits  or  those  of  some  renowned 
evil-doer,  he  resembles  the  Neapolitan  improvisatore,  his  style 


being  unfettered,  commonly  prosaic,  but  occasionally  rising  to 
the  poetic  level  for  some  moments,  to  sink  again  into  dull  and 
scarcely  metrical  recitation.  The  Cantor  possesses,  moreover, 
a  repertory  of  popular  poems  in  octosyllabic  lines  variously 
combined  into  stanzas  of  five  lines,  of  ten,  or  of  eight.  Among 
them  are  many  compositions  of  merit  which  show  some  inspira- 
tion and  feeling. 

The  character  whom  Sarmiento  terms  a  'cantor'  was  more 
popularly  known  in  Buenos  Aires  as  a  *  payador,'  a  name 
derived  from  the  verb  *  payar  *  meaning  to  improvise  in 
verse  to  the  accompaniment  of  the  guitar.  As  Sarmiento 
intimates,  the  popular  poetry  of  Argentina  is  a  derivative 
of  the  Andalusian  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  has  a  long  popu- 
lar development.  The  episodes  related  by  the  payador 
reveal  a  certain  epic  quality  tinged  with  Moorish  sadness 
but  tempered  by  the  Andalusian  keenness  for  the  satirical 
and  the  comic.  Frequent  also  is  the  intent  to  teach  a 
moral  lesson;  barbarous  at  times,  for  the  purpose  often 
is  to  inculcate  a  spirit  of  rebellion. 

B.  Hidalgo  and  J.  G.  Godoy  used  the  popular  poetry 
in  dialogue  form  during  the  revolutionary  epoch  for  the 
propaganda  of  their  patriotic  ideas,  but  they  did  not  make 
a  literary  character  of  the  gaucho.  Among  the  first  to 
put  the  gaucho  into  cultivated  literature  was  J.  M.  Gutier- 
rez whose  Amores  del  Payador  was  written  in  February, 
1838.  It  is  worth  while  to  note  that  this  date  is  only  a 
year  later  than  the  publication  of  Echeverria's  La  Cautiva 
and  his  suggestion  regarding  the  utilization  of  Argentine 
sources  for  the  creation  of  a  native  literaturey^Zoj  Amores 
del  Payador  should  be  ranked  high.  It  is  the  typical 
gaucho  legend.  It  is  full  of  true  poetical  feeling.  It  is  well 
written  in  good  Castilian.     It  is  highly  dramatic.     The 


reader  is  introduced  to  Juana  who  is  waiting  at  the  door 
of  her  father's  house  for  her  lover,  the  payador.  At  last 
he  rides  up  mounted  on  his  swift  courser.  As  he  is  reciting 
his  amorous  ditty,  a  rich  suitor  for  Juana's  hand  appears. 
The  men's  words  bring  on  a  fight.  When  Juana  tries  to 
separate  them  she  is  mortally  stabbed  by  the  rich  man 
who  is  promptly  killed  by  the  payador.  Over  the  corpse 
of  his  beloved  he  sings  the  characteristic  mournful  gaucho 
lament.  Then  covering  her  body  with  his  poncho  he 
departs  to  take  up  again  his  wild  life  in  the  wilderness. 

About  1844  were  written  Bartolome  Mitre's  gaucho 
poems.  Among  them  is  the  first  treatment  of  the  legend 
of  Santos  Vega,  a  gaucho  who  has  been  called  the  spirit 
of  "popular  poetry  incarnate  in  a  Don  Juan  of  the  coun- 
tryside." Santos  Vega  was  a  payador  who  died  of  grief 
because  he  had  been  beaten  in  a  contest  with  a  young 
amateur  in  the  art  of  improvisation.  Popular  report 
asserted  that  the  stranger  before  whose  skill  the  inspira- 
tion of  Santos  Vega  had  failed  was  no  other  than  the 
Devil.  Ten  years  later  after  a  more  realistic  representa- 
tion of  the  gaucho  was  coming  into  vogue,  Mitre  published 
the  second  edition  of  his  poems  accompanied  by  an  intro- 
duction and  notes.  In  them  he  wrote,  "Primitive  cus- 
toms have  had  many  singers  but  almost  all  have  limited 
themselves  to  copying  them  instead  of  giving  them  a 
poetic  character.  So  it  is  that,  in  order  to  make  gauchos 
talk,  the  poets  have  used  all  the  gaucho  idioms,  thus 
raising  a  jargon  to  the  rank  of  poetry.  Poetry  is  not  the 
servile  copy  but  the  poetic  interpretation  of  nature." 
These  words  are  an  excellent  expression  of  the  two  lines 
along  which  this  class  of  literature  developed. 


During  the  revolutionary  period  the  gaucho  served  as  a 
mouthpiece  for  the  opinions  of  Bartolome  Hidalgo  to 
whose  celebrated  dialogues  of  Chano  and  Contreras  refer- 
ence has  already  been  made.  Their  realistic  form  and 
popular  idiom  served  as  a  model  for  Hilario  Ascasubi 
(1807-75)  whom,  some,  if  not  Mitre,  have  praised  for 
his  "faithful  reproduction  of  nature."  One  of  Ascasubi's 
earliest  pieces  was  a  dialogue  between  Chano  y  Contreras 
who  are  represented  as  serving  together  in  the  trenches 
before  Montevideo  and  conversing  on  the  past  glories 
of  the  country. 

Ascasubi  was  himself  a  soldier  who  had  suflFered  im- 
prisonment at  the  command  of  Rosas.  After  two  years 
in  a  dungeon  he  learned  that  the  order  for  his  execution 
had  been  issued,  but  the  connivance  of  his  jailers  afforded 
him  an  opportunity  to  escape  from  the  prison  by  dropping 
over  the  wall  into  the  moat.  In  Montevideo  he  was  en- 
couraged to  write  his  patriotic  verses  by  Florencio  Varela, 
then  the  leading  journalist  of  the  city.  At  the  latter*s 
expense  thousands  of  copies  of  one  poem  were  printed 
and  distributed  to  the  soldiers  in  General  Lavalle's  army 
as  they  set  out  on  their  campaign  against  Rosas.  This 
poem  bore  the  title  of  Media  Cana  del  Campo,  the  name 
of  a  favorite  dance,  and  was  written  in  a  meter  which 
allowed  it  to  be  sung  to  the  tempo  of  the  dance.  Its 
spirited  words  were  intended  to  hearten  the  soldiers  by 
dwelling  on  the  defeat  of  Rosas  at  the  battle  of  Cagancha. 

Florencio  Varela  (1807-48),  younger  brother  of  Juan 
Cruz  Varela,  won  the  admiration  of  his  contemporaries 
by  his  energy  and  abilities.  They  sent  him  to  Europe 
to  enlist  the  assistance  of  England  and  France  at  the 


opening  of  the  great  siege  of  Montevideo.  There  also 
he  made  a  favorable  impression  of  his  personality.  After 
his  return  his  journalistic  attacks  on  Rosas  and  his  lieu- 
tenant Oribe  were  so  fierce  that  they  dispatched  an  assassin 
who  succeeded  in  his  purpose  one  night  at  Varela's  very 
doorstep.  Beside  his  political  writing,  Varela  was  the 
author  of  some  odes  in  the  classical  style  on  the  hospital 
of  the  Brothers  of  Charity,  on  anarchy  and  on  peace,  all 
much  praised  by  his  friends.  The  lofty  sentiments  of 
the  poems  reveal  the  noble  character  of  the  man. 

With  his  encouragement  Ascasubia)ntinued  to  produce 
his  gaucho  dialogues  and  letters.  A  favorite  device  of  the 
poet  was  the  letter  written  by  the  gaucho  Donato  Jurao 
to  his  wife  narrating  recent  events  or  by  Paulino  Lucero 
discussing  the  cruel  deeds  of  Rosas  such  as  the  execution 
of  Camila  O'Gorman  and  the  priest  Gutierrez.  (This  act 
was  staged  by  the  Uruguayan  Fajardo.)  These  occa- 
sional pieces  were  afterwards  collected  in  a  volume  and 
printed  with  the  title  Paulino  Lucero  or  "the  gauchos  of 
the  rio  de  la  Plata  singing  and  fighting  against  the  tyrants 
of  the  Argentine  and  the  Oriental  Republics,  1839-51: 
relating  all  the  episodes  of  the  nine  years*  siege  which 
Montevideo  sustained  heroically  and  unequally  as  well  as 
the  combats  which  the  gaucho  patriots  fought  until  the 
tyrant  J.  M.  Rosas  and  his  satellites  were  laid  low."  As 
the  long  sub-title  promises,  the  book  is  a  perfect  mine  of 
facts,  especially  for  the  student  of  local  manners  and  cus- 

.,  His  success  in  political  verse  led  Ascasubi  to  attempt 

an  ambitious  reconstruction  of  the  life  of  the  gaucho  at  the 
end  of  the  eighteenth  century.    The  title  which  he  finally 


gave  to  the  collection  of  his  sketches  originally  published 
in  1 85 1,  was  Santos  Vega  0  los  Mellizos  de  la  Flor.  In  this 
picaresque  novel  in  verse  the  payador  Santos  Vega,  "aquel 
de  la  larga  fama,"  relates  the  Hfe  and  criminal  deeds  of  a 
famous  gaucho  outlaw  who  flourished  between  1778  and 
1808.  In  this  manner  the  author  finds  opportunity  to 
describe  life  on  the  estancias,  its  danger  from  the  Indians, 
the  rural  customs  and  ideas,  the  good  features  of  gaucho 
character  as  well  as  the  evil  and  to  celebrate  the  some- 
what mythological  Santos  Vega  himself. 

After  the  fall  of  Rosas  and  the  establishment  of  the  rule 
of  General  Urquiza,  Ascasubi  began  the  publication  of  a 
periodical  entitled  Aniceto  el  Gallo  from  whose  pages  a 
gaucho  by  that  name  preached  unitarian  doctrines  to  the 
federalistic  adherents  of  Urquiza.  Many  of  his  old  poems 
against  Rosas  were  reprinted.  Though  public  interest 
kept  the  periodical  alive  for  a  year  during  1853  and  54,  not 
many  political  conversions  have  been  attributed  to  the 
influence  of  Aniceto  el  Gallo. 

Ascasubi*s  verses  are  so  closely  connected  with  con- 
temporary events  and  can  scarcely  be  read  without  con- 
stant reference  to  a  glossary  that  they  lack  interest  now, 
but  to  his  friends  he  was  a  "second  Beranger."  In  a 
degree  the  footnotes  with  which  he  provided  the  final 
edition  of  his  poems  are  more  interesting  than  the  text. 

When  Mitre  condemned  the  gaucho  jargon  in  the 
theory  of  poetics  prefaced  to  the  second  edition  of  his 
Rimasy  he  was  preparing  the  way  for  a  poet  of  the  younger 
generation.  Ricardo  Gutierrez  (1836-96)  published  in 
i860  a  volume  of  poems  which  must  have  obtained  Mitre's 
approval.    The  long  poems  contained  therein,  Ldzaro  and 


La  Fibra  Salvaje,  have  been  termed  by  enthusiastic  ad- 
mirers the  most  criollo  of  all  Argentine  poems.  At  the 
same  time  their  expression  of  the  passion  of  love  is  most 
intense.  Ldzaro  is  the  tale  of  a  gaucho  disappointed  in 
love.  La  Fibra  Salvaje  possesses  the  intensity  of  a  gaucho 
tale  at  least  as  the  title  suggests.  It  depicts  the  despair 
of  a  lover,  Ezequiel,  who  separated  from  Lucia,  the  object 
of  his  passion,  becomes  a  monk  when  she  marries  another 
man.  After  several  years  the  husband,  Don  Julio,  comes 
in  remorse  to  the  monk's  cell  and,  without  knowing  the 
latter's  personal  interest  in  the  matter,  confesses  that  he 
had  sold  his  wife  for  gold  to  satisfy  his  passion  for  gambling. 
The  monk  is  so  inflamed  with  anger  that  he  challenges 
Julio  to  fight.  Julio  is  killed.  Then  Ezequiel  lays 
aside  his  monk's  garb  to  enter  the  army  of  San  Martin 
in  one  of  whose  victorious  battles  he  meets  his  own 

Ricardo  Gutierrez  became  a  physician.  The  experiences 
of  his  calling  are  revealed  in  many  of  his  poems,  for  he 
constantly  cries  to  God  in  prayer  for  consolation  for  the 
miseries  which  he  witnesses.  In  1880  he  published  a  novel 
Cristian.  The  protagonist  of  that  name  is  a  student  who, 
during  his  vacation  on  his  brother's  ranch,  falls  in  love 
with  his  brother's  wife  to  whom  he  discourses  much  of  the 
soul.  And  finally  like  Werther  commits  suicide.  The 
significance  of  Ricardo  Gutierrez  Hes  in  the  fact  that  he 
I  penetrates  the  depth  of  the  gaucho  soul  and  reveals  as  no 
\  other  of  his  countrymen  its  inner  workings  prompting 
to  the  deeds  of  violence  so  frequently  described. 

Poems  in  the  gaucho  jargon  after  the  cessation  of  the 
publication   of  Aniceto   el  Gallo   were   next   written    by 


Estanislao  del  Campo  (born  1835).  His  first  verses 
signed  "Anastasio  el  Polio"  were  ascribed  to  Ascasubi  till 
the  latter  denied  their  authorship  in  a  letter  from  Aniceto 
el  Gallo  congratulating  Anastasio  el  Polio  upon  his  first 
efforts  as  a  cantor.  The  best  of  Del  Campo*s  early  poems 
is  the  account  of  the  battle  of  Pavon  fought  in  1861  which 
it  will  be  remembered  established  the  supremacy  of  the 
province  of  Buenos  Aires  in  revolt  under  the  generalship 
of  Mitre  against  Urquiza.  This  poem  gives  a  mock  ac- 
count of  the  battle  as  a  report  from  the  defeated  general. 
Del  Campo  also  wrote  verse  in  a  more  elevated  style;  for 
example,  his  ode  to  America  on  a  text  taken  from  Mar- 
mol's  lines  that  America  prophesies  liberty  to  the  world 
is  readable.  Were  it  not  however  for  one  gaucho  poem 
of  his  he  would  be  speedily  forgotten.  At  the  suggestion 
of  Ricardo  Gutierrez,  to  whom  he  dedicated  his  produc- 
tion, he  composed  and  published  in  1866  a  long  poem  en- 
titled Fausto.  Impresiones  del  gaucho  Anastasio  el  Polio 
<n  la  representacion  de  esta  opera.    And  it  is  a  masterpiece. 

It  is  a  masterpiece  because,  in  retelling  the  story,  in 
homely  dialect,  Del  Campo  has  retained  the  literary  values 
and  pathos  of  the  original  and  at  the  same  time  he  paints 
the  reflection  of  the  tragedy  in  the  gaucho*s  soul.  The 
poem  fulfills  the  demand  of  Mitre  that  the  poet  should 
treat  his  material  in  an  artistic  manner;  yet  it  is  filled  with 
gaucho  sentiment.  The  setting  of  the  story,  Anastasio  el 
Polio's  breezy  humor,  his  metaphorical  comparisons  drawn 
from  his  daily  life  are  incomparable  bits  of  realism.  Its 
effectiveness  is  increased  by  the  simple  direct  way  in  which 
the  story  proceeds. 

In  the  opening  lines  of  the  poem  the  reader  is  introduced 


to  the  gaucho  Laguna  riding  along  on  his  dappled  pony, 
gay  with  trappings  of  silver,  so  heavy  that  he  seemed  to 
bear  on  him  "a  Potosi."  Arriving  at  the  river  he  had  dis- 
mounted and  was  unsaddling  his  horse  when  he  caught 
sight  of  a  man's  clothes.  Then  his  horse  neighed  as  a  man 
on  horseback  came  out  of  the  river.  Laguna  recognizes 
his  old  friend  Anastasio  el  Polio.  After  they  embrace, 
Laguna  relates  his  recent  adventures.  He  had  been  to 
the  city  to  collect  money  due  him  for  some  wool  but  he  had 
been  greeted  by  excuses,  "To-morrow.  Come  later.  No 
money."  El  Polio  jests  him  on  the  amount  of  silver  that 
he  carries  about.  Laguna  explains  that  he  won  it  from  a 
gambler,  who  had  the  insolence  to  accuse  him  of  witch- 
craft.   "According  to  his  story  you'd  think  the  Devil  and 

I "    "Hush!  friend,  the  other  night  I  saw  the  Devil. 

Cross  yourself."  Besought  by  his  friend  to  relate  the 
adventure,  el  Polio,  after  fortifying  himself  by  a  drink 
from  Laguna's  flask,  began. 

Being  near  the  theater  Colon,  he  saw  a  crowd  going  in, 
so  he  paid  his  admission  and  went  in  too.  After  climbing 
a  hundred  and  one  steps  he  found  his  seat.  Then  the  band 
began  to  play  and  the  curtain  went  up.  A  doctor  made 
known  his  weariness  with  life  because  he  was  in  love  with 
a  little  blond.  In  despair  he  called  on  the  Devil  who  then 
appeared.  Laguna  doubts  that  it  really  was  the  Devil. 
"Half  the  city  saw  him,"  maintains  el  Polio.  The  Devil 
then  gave  the  doctor  a  glimpse  of  the  blond.  "Ah!  she 
was  as  beautiful  as  the  Immaculate  Virgin."  The  Devil, 
before  doing  more  for  the  doctor,  insisted  on  his  signing 
a  contract,  and  when  it  was  signed,  laughed  so  that  "it 
rang  in  my  ears  all  night." 


In  this  manner  el  Polio  narrates  the  story  of  the  opera 
act  by  act.  At  the  end  of  the  tragedy  he  tells  how  Faust 
visiting  the  prison  prayed.  Then  the  wall  opened  and  the 
girl's  soul  ascended  to  glory.  Saint  Michael  brandishing 
his  sword  came  down  from  among  the  clouds,  before 
whom  the  Devil  sank  into  the  ground.  "Lend  me  your 
handkerchief.  My  head  sweats;  how  could  you  see  such 
witchcraft?"  cries  Laguna.  "I  went  about  for  four  or 
five  days  with  a  headache,"  replies  el  Polio. 

The  first  edition  of  Fausto  distributed  twenty  thousand 
copies,  the  proceeds  of  which  were  donated  by  the  author 
to  the  military  hospitals.  But  more  popular  still  has  been 
Martin  Fierro,  published  in  1872,  by  Jose  Hernandez 
(1834-86).  The  author  was  a  journalist  in  Buenos  Aires, 
who  founded  the  'Revista  del  Rio  de  la  Plata,  The  editions 
of  his  poem,  nearly  tripled  in  length  by  a  second  part, 
La  Vuelta  de  Martin  FierrOy  are  still  issued.  As  a  measure 
of  its  popularity  may  be  taken  the  fact  that  it  used  to 
be  on  sale  in  country  groceries  and  the  often  quoted 
anecdote  of  the  messenger  sent  to  buy  various  supplies 
and  "the  latest  part  o{  Martin  Fierro" 

The  poem  relates  in  the  language  and  manner  of  the 
gaucho,  the  story  of  Martin  Fierro's  misfortunes.  Once 
a  small  farmer  with  wife  and  child,  he  was  taken  from  them 
by  a  recruiting  officer.  The  regiment  into  which  he  was 
drafted  fights  with  the  Indians.  After  a  while  he  deserts 
and  returns  to  his  farm.  He  finds  it  without  signs  of  life 
and  the  buildings  burnt.  So  he  becomes  a  "matrero," 
or  gaucho  outlaw,  in  company  with  one  Cruz.  Tired  of 
being  hunted  by  the  police,  Martin  smashes  his  guitar  as 
a  sign  of  renouncing  his  ties  with  the  white  race  and  joins 


the  Indians.  La  Vuelta  de  Martin  Fierro,  or  his  return 
to  civilization,  has  less  movement  and  long  moralizing 
sermons  by  Padre  Vizcacha.  These  however  were  not  dis- 
pleasing to  its  readers  who  found  their  own  sentiments 
voiced  by  his  words.  The  generation  who  received  this 
poem  understood  it  as  a  challenge  to  the  government  in 
Buenos  Aires  that  was  legislating  for  the  country  people 
without  understanding  their  needs. 

To  others  the  poem  symbolized  the  whole  race  of  the 
gaucho  who  has  now  disappeared  before  the  advance  of 
the  railway  and  European  immigration.  The  truth  of 
Hernandez'  representation  was  instantly  recognized.  Her- 
nandez was  brought  up  in  the  country  and  thoroughly 
understood  the  physical  conditions  and  the  characters 
whose  daily  life,  passions,  pleasures,  aspirations,  and 
dreams  he  portrayed  so  minutely. 

As  literature  Martin  Fierro  is  ranked  high  by  the  Span- 
ish critic,  Miguel  de  Unamuno,  who  finds  in  it  a  commin- 
gling of  the  epic  and  the  lyric.  Further  he  says:  "When 
the  payador  of  the  pampa  beneath  the  shade  of  the  ombu 
in  the  calm  of  the  desert,  or  on  a  pleasant  night  by  the 
light  of  the  stars  intones,  to  the  accompaniment  of  his 
Spanish  guitar,  the  monotone  decimas  of  Martin  Fierro 
and  the  gauchos  listen  with  emotion  to  the  poetry  of  the 
pampa,  they  hear,  without  being  aware  of  the  fact,  the 
inextinguishable  echoes  of  their  mother  Spain,  echoes 
which  with  their  blood  and  soul  were  bequeathed  to  them 
by  their  parents.  Martin  Fierro  is  the  song  of  the  Spanish 
warrior  who,  after  having  planted  the  cross  in  Granada, 
went  to  America  to  serve  in  the  vanguard  of  civilization. 
Therefore  his  song  is  filled  with  the  Spanish  spirit;  his 


language  is  Spanish,  his  idioms,  his  maxims,  his  worldly 
wisdom,  his  soul  are  Spanish." 

With  the  popularity  of  Martin  Fierro,  the  gaucho  be- 
came the  fashion.  As  a  part  of  an  evening  entertainment 
or  as  a  side  show  to  a  circus  the  payador  flourished.  A 
few  professionals  attained  celebrity  for  their  ready  wit 
in  improvisation  for  it  was  customary  to  pit  against  each 
other  representatives  of  difl^erent  provinces. 

With  less  realism  and  more  of  the  artistry  demanded  by 
Mitre,  the  gaucho  next  appeared  in  verse  in  the  Tradi- 
Clones  Argentinas  of  Rafael  Obligado.  These  three  brief 
poems  are  poetical  interpretations  of  the  Santos  Vega 
legend.  In  the  first  a  payador  relates  how  the  ghost  of 
Santos  Vega  had  played  at  night  on  a  guitar  accidentally 
left  by  a  well.  The  second  brings  the  famous  gaucho  to  a 
ghostly  love  tryst.  The  third  narrates  the  death  of 
Santos  Vega  in  contest  with  an  unknown  payador,  to 
whom  Obligado  gives  the  symbolic  name  Juan  Sin  Ropa. 
According  to  the  legend  Santos  Vega,  the  unexcelled,  had 
succumbed  only  in  a  contest  with  the  Devil;  but  this  vic- 
tor's name  typifies  the  new  immigration  which  has  brought 
about  the  passing  of  the  old  conditions  in  the  country. 
In  the  words  of  the  poem,  Juan  Sin  Ropa's  song  "was 
the  mighty  cry  of  progress  on  the  wind." 

Written  with  a  like  symbolism  as  if  to  mark  the  dis- 
appearance of  the  gaucho,  at  the  close  of  the  nineteenth 
century  was  published  in  1899  the  last  recorded  gaucho 
poem,  Nastasio,  by  Francisco  Soto  y  Calvo.  It  is  the 
story  of  the  death  of  old  Anastasio,  the  gaucho,  after  a 
terrific  hurricane  had  robbed  him  of  his  wife  and  children. 
Into  this  poem  filled  with  the  spirit  of  the  pampa,  the 



author  has  attempted  to  concentrate  the  essence  of  all 
the  rich  gaucho  literature. 

Two  years  later  Soto  y  Calvo  brought  out  a  counter- 
part to  this  poem  in  Nostalgia  in  which  he  portrays  the 
new  life  that  has  come  into  the  country  with  the  influx 
of  foreign  immigration.  An  Italian  immigrant,  Vittor, 
falls  in  love  with  a  maid  servant  of  native  birth  whose 
employers  take  him  as  a  farmhand.  After  their  marriage 
riches  come  to  them  as  the  reward  of  sturdy  effort  and 
allow  Vittor  to  put  into  execution  his  long  cherished  am- 
bition of  returning  to  Italy.  But  the  couple  are  not  happy; 
they  are  homesick  for  the  pampa  (hence  the  title.)  One's 
country  is  where  one  is  well  off.  The  story  would  have 
been  better  if  its  twelve  thousand  lines  had  been  prose. 

The  prose  treatment  of  the  gaucho  began  about  1880, 
when  realistic  fiction  in  the  style  of  Zola  was  coming  into 
vogue.  Eduardo  Gutierrez,  making  use  of  police  reports, 
filled  the  literary  sections  of  the  newspapers  with  the 
exploits  of  notorious  criminals  so  that  Juan  Moreira,  the 
assassin,  and  El  Jorobado,  thief,  became  household 
names.  But  as  M.  Garcia  Merou  points  out,  the  romantic 
payador  Santos  Vega  has  become  a  degenerate  who 
spends  the  intervals  between  his  robberies  in  getting  drunk. 

But  Eduardo  Gutierrez  by  adapting  one  of  the  episodes 
of  his  novel  Juan  Moreira  to  pantomimic  representation 
in  a  circus  opened  another  path  in  literature  to  the  gaucho. 
At  first  to  fill  the  part  in  the  pantomime  real  gauchos  rode 
their  horses  into  the  circus  and  strummed  the  guitar.  Soon 
spoken  dialogue  was  added  to  their  roles.  In  this  play 
the  brothers  Podesta  achieved  a  reputation  and  continued 
it  independent  of  the  circus.     Their  success  encouraged 


them  to  stage  Martin  Fierro,  Then  original  plays  about 
gauchos  were  written  both  in  Argentina  and  Uruguay. 
So  to  the  present  day  the  gaucho  has  kept  the  stage.  And 
from  this  popular  origin  has  developed  a  class  of  plays 
which  represent  the  manners  and  speech  of  the  lower 

Public  enthusiasm  over  the  productions  of  the  popular 
poetry  never  hindered  cultivation  of  verse  along  more 
classic  lines.  The  poet  called  on  to  voice  the  sentiments 
of  Buenos  Aires  at  a  public  gathering  in  celebration  of 
the  establishment  of  the  third  French  Republic  in  1870 
was  Martin_CQronado.  He  had  attracted  attention  only 
the  year  before  by  the  essentially  virile  tone  and  sparkling 
eloquence  of  his  verses,  a  quality  which  made  them  very 
suitable  for  declamation.  As  a  poet  of  occasion  he  prac- 
ticed also  the  epigram  and  the  jocose.  But  his  most 
interesting  poems  are  narrative  pictures  of  dramatic 
events  in  contemporary  life.  In  Los  Hijos  de  la  Pampa 
his  heart  beats  in  sympathy  with  the  soldier  who,  wounded 
by  the  same  bullet  that  had  killed  his  horse,  lovingly 
caresses  the  animal  before  dying.  Angela  is  the  story  of 
a  young  woman  whose  conduct  fits  her  name.  At  her 
wedding  ceremony  a  woman  appears  to  claim  the  prospec- 
tive bridegroom  as  the  father  of  a  child  in  her  arms. 
Angela  recognizes  a  bow  of  ribbon  in  the  woman's  posses- 
sion as  one  which  she  had  herself  given  the  man  as  a  token 
of  love.  Removing  her  wedding  veil  and  putting  it  on 
the  woman,  Angela  compels  the  man  to  marry  the  mother 
of  his  child.  Later  Angela  dies  of  a  broken  heart.  In 
these  narrative  poems  Coronado  reveals  himself  as  a 
disciple  of  Ricardo  Gutierrez.     The  two  poets  resemble 


each  other  also  in  their  intensity  of  expression  when  treat- 
ing the  passion  of  love. 

Coronado  on  the  other  hand  essayed  the  drama  in  pro- 
ductions the  most  important  since  those  of  Marmol. 
La  Rosa  Blanca,  1877,  dramatizes  the  efforts  of  a  physician 
to  cure  a  girl  who  had  become  insane  through  disappointed 
love.  Luz  de  Luna  y  Luz  de  Incendio,  played  a  year  later, 
stages  with  great  reaHsm  the  days  of  Rosas.  Cuitifio,  a 
despicable  villain  and  officer  of  the  tyrant,  appears  at 
an  evening  party  where  he  succeeds  in  getting  his  victim, 
young  Emilio,  to  betray  his  unitarian  sentiments,  whereat 
he  is  arrested  and  taken  to  the  barracks  of  the  federal 
soldiers.  The  scene  at  the  barracks  gives  opportunity 
for  declamatory  eloquence  from  Emilio.  The  drunken 
Cuitifio  and  his  soldiers  display  the  utmost  brutality  and 
thereby  prepare  the  spectator  for  the  killings  in  the  last  act. 
These  plays  were  partly  the  outcome  of  the  efforts  of  a 
literary  society,  the  "Academia  Argentina,"  to  promote 
the  theater.  The  members  proclaimed  themselves  dis- 
ciples of  Echeverria  with  the  purpose  of  nationalizing 
literature  on  the  model  of  La  Cautiva.  As  a  step  in  this 
direction  they  occupied  themselves  also  in  preparing  a 
dictionary  of  expressions  peculiar  to  Argentina.  The 
member  of  this  society  who  won  the  greatest  name  for 
>L  himself  as  a  poet  was  Rafael  Obligado.  One  of  his  best 
poems,  Echeverria,  which  may  be  taken  as  the  manifesto 
of  the  society,  turns  on  the  idea : — 

Lancemonos  nosotros  sus  hermanos 
Por  la  senda  inmortal  de  Echeverria. 

Obligado  is  a  genuine  poet  with  the  truest  feeling  for 


the  intimate  moods  of  nature.  As  his  family  was  wealthy, 
he  was  able  to  spend  his  time  observing  her  and  putting 
into  verse  such  impressions  as  he  willed.  His  earliest 
long  poem,  La  PampUy  written  in  1872  under  the  direct 
imitation  of  his  chosen  master,  is  an  ambitious  attempt  at 
word  painting.  But  he  was  more  successful  in  such  gems 
as  La  Flor  del  Seibo  and  El  Nido  de  Boyeros.  The  former 
is  a  letrilla  composed  to  vie  with  the  Cuban  poet,  Placido's 
La  Flor  de  la  Caha  to  which  Obligado  refers  in  the  opening 
lines  when  he  declares  his  belief  that  the  inspiring  Cuban 
beauty  had  no  blacker  or  prettier  eyes  than  a  certain  little 
Argentine  maid.  Perhaps  the  same  little  maid  was  the 
passionate,  tender-hearted  lass  of  the  adventure  with  the 
birds'  nest  related  in  El  Nido  de  Boyeros.  The  poet  says 
he  is  acquainted  with  a  girl  of  thirteen  who  likes  to  row 
about  the  river  amusing  herself  by  picking  flowers.  When- 
ever she  sees  him  she  haughtily  threatens  him  with  her 
fist.  One  day  he  saw  her  approach  a  nest  of  boyeros 
hanging  over  the  water.  When  she  tried  to  get  it  with  a 
long  stick  she  just  missed  it.  Thereby  losing  her  balance 
she  was  thrown  to  her  seat  in  the  boat.  In  anger  she 
started  to  strike  the  nest,  but  the  cries  of  the  young  birds 
deterred  her.  Instead  she  gently  rocked  the  nest.  While 
engaged  in  this  motherly  occupation  she  caught  sight  of 
the  poet  watching  her.  And  thereafter  when  she  passes 
him  in  her  boat  instead  of  threatening  him,  she  rows 
quickly  past  with  averted  head. 

Beside  the  breath  of  the  pampa  and  the  woodland 
fragance  rare  in  Argentine  poetry,  Obligado's  lines  reveal 
tender  human  sentiments.  The  sense  of  personal  loss 
through  the  death  of  loved  ones  has  seldom  been  more 


exquisitely  expressed  than  in  El  Hogar  Facto.  And  from 
El  Hogar  Paterno  the  reader  discovers  that  the  poet's  love 
for  his  country  is  rooted  in  his  love  for  his  home.  The 
total  number  of  Obligado's  poems  is  small,  a  fact  which 
testifies  to  the  care  with  which  he  wrote.  At  the  same 
time  he  claimed  a  romanticist's  freedom  of  treatment. 

Partly  from  this  and  partly  from  his  choice  of  subjects 
came  about  the  most  interesting  episode  of  his  literary 
career.  One  day  he  sent  a  challenge  written  in  tercets 
to  his  friend  Calixto  Oyuela  to  debate  in  a  Justa  Literaria 
the  old  question  of  classicism  and  romanticism.  Nothing 
averse,  the  latter,  who  had  just  been  winning  some  prizes 
in  Buenos  Aires  for  his  classic  verses,  replied  in  tercets 
accepting  the  challenge.  In  the  same  meter  and  form 
they  reproached  each  other  for  what  each  one  believed  to 
be  the  other's  shortcomings.  Obligado  thought  that  Oyuela 
was  neglectful  of  the  light  of  the  present  ideal  and  unmind- 
ful of  the  Andes.  Oyuela  replied  that  Obligado  was  irrever- 
ent of  the  past.  Finally  the  poets  agreed  to  submit  their 
contest  to  an  older  poet,  Carlos  Guido  y  Spano,  a  man  who 
inspired  great  respect  and  even  affection  in  his  contempo- 
raries. In  a  genial  letter,  interesting  to  the  student  of  lit- 
erature in  many  ways,  Guido  y  Spano  replied  in  this  strain. 

The  guitar  is  worth  as  much  as  the  lyre.  For  a  new 
world,  new  songs.  But  form  must  be  considered.  Ob- 
ligado's  exquisite  Flor  del  Seibo  would  perish  were  it  not 
preserved  in  a  vase  of  fine  crystal.  Therefore  the  judge 
advises  Oyuela  to  stop  reading  Homer  and  spend  a  few 
hours  with  Aniceto  el  Gallo  and  Martin  Fierro.  On  the 
other  hand,  Obligado  should  go  to  Athens  and  Greece. 
Then  the  two  poets  will  understand  each  other  without 


need  of  his  decision.  Let  them  make  truce  and  continue 
singing  each  in  his  own  fashion. 

ObHgado  referring  to  the  ancient  habit  of  presenting 
the  victor  of  a  poetic  contest  with  a  rose,  sent  to  Oyuela 
his  Flor  del  Seibo.  The  latter  in  acceptance  complimented 
his  adversary  on  possessing  more  true  American  savor 
than  any  other  and  advised  that  they  make  war  on  their 
common  enemy,  that  literary  pest,  Gallic  imitation. 

To  understand  the  significance  of  the  Justa  LiUraria, 
it  is  necessary  to  consider  certain  minor  movements  in 
Argentine  poesy.  Even  Echeverria  believed  that  poetry 
was  a  sort  of  handmaid  to  morality  and  humanitarianism. 
A  spiritualistic  tendency  of  this  kind  easily  joined  itself 
to  an  undercurrent  of  classicism.  And  when  about  the 
year  1880  literary  societies  established  contests  in  Buenos 
Aires  to  which  they  gave  the  old  name  of  "juegos  florales,** 
the  poems  submitted  to  the  judges  were  compositions  on 
the  classical  or  philosophical  order. 

Calixto  Oyuela  was  a  prize  winner  in  these  contests, 
in  1 88 1  with  his  Canto  al  Arte  and  the  next  year  with 
Eros.  The  latter  is  a  very  beautiful  poem,  distinguished 
on  the  one  hand  for  its  correctness  of  diction  and  classic 
spirit  and  on  the  other  for  the  development  of  the  senti- 
ment which  it  expresses.  The  poet  declares  that  love  is 
the  inspiration  of  all  his  verses.  Every  flower,  the  breeze, 
each  wave  of  the  sea,  the  last  breath  of  evening,  the  shin- 
ing stars,  all  nature  speaks  to  him  of  love. 

This  poem  is  perhaps  the  fairest  product  of  the  purely 
classic  school.  In  the  same  year  in  which  it  was  written, 
died  the  man  of  whom  the  classicists  believed  themselves 
disciples,  namely,  Carlos  Encina  (1839-82).     When  nine-  > 



teen  years  of  age,  he  won  first  prize  in  a  school  contest 
by  a  Canto  lirico  al  Colon,  Later  he  wrote  two  poetical 
dissertations,  Canto  al  Arte  and  La  Lucha  por  la  Idea. 
They  comprise  practically  all  his  compositions  in  verse, 
for  he  became  a  teacher  of  mathematics  and  of  philosophy 
along  evolutionary  lines.  His  poems  are  judged  some- 
what harshly  by  Menendez  y  Pelayo  on  the  ground  that 
they  are  not  poetic  but  are  merely  the  versification  of 
Hegelian  and  Spencerian  ideas.  How  the  Argentines  re- 
garded the  poems  has  been  told  by  Ricardo  Gutierrez. 
To  them  they  opened  a  new  course  of  aesthetics  which 
was  the  religion  of  the  new  school. 

Carlos  Guido  y  Spano  (bom  1829)  was,  however,  the 
grand  old  man  of  the  classicists.  He  was  the  one  who 
gave  them  translations  from  the  Greek  and  showed  them 
by  example  what  correctness  of  form  meant.  His  sober 
and  severe  style  was  a  development  of  his  later  days  as 
one  may  discover  by  reading  the  verses  published  in  the 
collection  of  1871,  Hojas  al  Viento.  Here  are  revealed  the 
same  tenderness  of  feeling  and  the  same  breadth  of  sym- 
pathy which  made  him  personally  so  beloved.  Sympathy 
with  the  bereaved  or  the  sufferer  from  injustice  is  the 
dominant  note  of  his  best  poems. 

Perhaps  he  inherited  this  trait  from  his  father  Tomas 
Guido,  one  of  San  Martin's  generals  at  the  battles  of 
Chacabuco  and  Maipu,  and  an  orator  of  renown.  At 
any  rate  the  poet  relates  in  the  autobiographical  sketch 
prefixed  to  Rdfagas,  a  volume  of  collected  newspaper  ar- 
ticles, two  notable  instances  of  his  own  nobility  of  char- 
acter. In  1 85 1,  his  brother  being  sick  in  Paris,  Carlos 
was  sent  by  his  parents  to  look  after  him.    When  he  ar- 


rived  he  found  his  brother  dead.  Paris  was  in  an  uproar 
of  revolution.  Filled  with  democratic  enthusiasm  for 
justice  the  young  Argentine  fought  behind  the  barricades. 
Luckily  he  came  away  alive,  for  in  1871  an  opportunity 
offered  for  him  to  show  the  same  spirit  of  disregard  of 
self,  to  the  benefit  of  his  native  city.  Buenos  Aires  was 
being  ravaged  by  an  epidemic  of  yellow  fever  and  it  was 
necessary  for  a  popular  commission  to  fight  the  peril. 
As  a  member  of  it  Carlos  Guido  y  Spano  distinguished 
himself  by  his  activity. 

Sympathy  with  a  sister  nation  inspired  him  to  his  most 
ambitious  poem,  Mexico:  canto  epico.  When  the  French 
invaded  Mexico  in  1862,  their  army  at  first  met  with 
defeat.  Guidons  sentiments  on  this  occasion  are  so  ve- 
hemently expressed  that  the  Mexican  critic,  Sosa,  declares 
that  one  might  easily  suppose  the  author  of  the  poem  to 
be  a  Mexican.  But  Guido  y  Spano  was  equally  moved 
by  the  injustice  of  an  act  when  his  own  country  was  a 
participant.  The  result  of  Argentina's  coalition  with 
Brazil  to  oppress  Paraguay  is  most  pathetically  signified 
in  Nenia,  This  brief  poem  is  one  of  the  most  precious 
gems  of  Argentine  lyrism.  It  is  the  lament  of  a  young 
Paraguayan  girl  who  has  lost  her  parents,  brothers  and 
lover  by  the  ravages  of  the  war.  The  lament  begins  and 
ends  with  an  apostrophe  to  the  urutau,  a  native  bird  of 
sweetest  song,  perched  on  the  yatay,  a  kind  of  palm  tree. 

Llora,  Uora,  urutau, 
en  las  ramas  del  yatay; 
ya  no  existe  el  Paraguay, 
donde  naci  como  tu. 
Llora,  llora,  urutau. 


No  less  affecting  is  the  poet  in  rendering  his  personal 
feelings,  whether  it  be  to  his  mother,  A  mi  Madre,  or  to  a 
friend  just  bereaved  by  the  death  of  her  father,  A I  Pasar. 
Few  poems  depicting  the  awakening  of  a  first  love  excel 
En  los  Guindos;  the  boy  has  climbed  a  cherry  tree  and 
as  he  tosses  the  fruit  into  the  outspread  skirt  of  his  girl 
companion,  his  heart  fills  with  emotion  as  he  glimpses 
her  charms. 

It  is  easy  to  understand  why  Guido  y  Spano  should 
have  been  selected  by  Oyuela  and  Obligado  to  decide 
their  literary  joust.  With  Oyuela  he  had  in  common  a 
reverence  for  form,  and  with  Obligado  a  love  for  the 
tender  and  sentimental.  But  their  verses  began  to  seem 
trivial  to  the  public  beside  the  grandiloquent  outbursts 
of  a  poet  who  is  generally  regarded  as  Argentina's  greatest 
y        poet,  Olegario  Victor  Andrade  (1838-83). 

Before  the  juegos  florales  of  1880  he  was  scarcely  heard 
of  because  he  was  on  the  wrong  side  in  politics.  He  was 
one  of  the  boys  whom  General  Urquiza  had  ordered  to 
be  sent  to  school  and  to  the  university.  He  repaid  his 
patron  by  dedicating  to  him  a  poem.  Mi  Patriae  which 
won  a  prize  in  the  school  contest  in  1856.  But  he  lost 
favor  the  same  year  by  marrying  at  the  age  of  eighteen. 
He  supported  himself  by  writing  for  provincial  papers. 
In  i860  he  became  private  secretary  to  President  Derqui, 
but  as  his  government  was  soon  overthrown,  Andrade 
had  no  resource  but  to  continue  to  write  in  the  provinces. 
Though  he  once  succeeded  in  securing  a  place  in  Buenos 
Aires,  he  lost  it  by  espousing  the  cause  of  Urquiza  against 
Sarmiento.  In  the  following  administration  of  Avel- 
laneda  he  held  a  position  in  the  custom  house  at  Con- 


cordia,  but  was  accused  of  negligence  in  administration, 
a  charge  from  which  he  was  later  acquitted.  With  the 
advent  of  General  Roca  to  the  presidency  in  1880,  the 
provinces  acquired  a  larger  share  in  the  government. 
Roca  placed  Andrade  in  charge  of  La  Trihuna  as  chief 
editor  of  this  government  organ.  And  after  his  death, 
in  1883,  President  Roca  assisted  Andrade*s  widow  by 
buying  from  her  for  the  National  Library  the  manuscripts 
of  all  his  poems  for  sixteen  thousand  pesos,  and  by  print- 
ing at  national  expense  a  fine  edition  of  his  poems.  More- 
over, President  Roca  paid  Andrade  the  personal  compli- 
ment of  delivering  an  oration  at  his  funeral. 

Andrade*s  poems  are  characterized  by  a  declamatory 
eloquence  on  patriotic  topics  and  an  exaggerated  Amer- 
icanism. They  are  didactic  on  the  theory  that  the  poet 
has  a  mission  to  preach  to  the  multitude.  Having  been 
written  within  the  space  of  five  years  when  the  man 
was  about  forty  years  old,  they  display  a  certain  unity 
of  conception  which,  despite  their  diversity  of  title,  gives 
them  additional  force. 

The  first  of  this  series  of  mature  poems  is  El  Nido  de 
Condor es,  dated  1877.  A  condor's  nest  situated  on  a 
gloomy  and  precipitous  clifF  above  a  defile  in  the  Andes, 
surrounded  by  a  white  band  of  snow,  amid  perpetual 
silence,  has  attracted  the  poet's  attention.  Musing  he 
recollects  the  stirring  events  of  which  the  nest  of  the 
condor  witnessed  in  part  at  least,  San  Martin's  passage 
of  the  mountains,  the  battles  of  Maipii,  of  Chacabuco, 
the  disaster  of  Cancha  Rayada. 

The  next  poems  are  more  personal,  to  General  Lavalle, 
to  San  Martin,  El  Arpa  Perdida,  an  elegy  on  the  poet 


Luca,  singer  of  Argentine  triumphs  in  revolutionary 
days,  who  was  drowned  in  a  shipwreck  in  1824.  Heroism, 
American  heroism  is  ever  his  theme  as  in  the  ode,  Pay- 
sanduy  to  the  memory  of  the  victorious  Uruguayans. 

In  Atldntiday  which  won  him  a  prize  in  the  juegos 
florales  of  1881,  Andrade  advanced  to  a  more  abstract 
and  prophetic  tone.  This  poem,  dedicated  to  the  future 
of  the  Latin  race  in  America,  begins  with  a  summary 
of  the  history  of  that  race.  Rome,  Spain,  France,  have 
each  in  its  turn  risen  to  leadership  and  fallen  to  decay. 
But  in  America  are  republics,  the  poet  characterizes  each 
in  memorable  lines,  republics  where  life  beats  high  and 
liberty  will  come  to  full  fruition. 

The  poet's  mission  as  a  teacher  and  prophet  is  exalted 
in  a  Canto  a  Victor  Hugo.  To  Andrade,  the  French  poet 
seems  greater  than  any  of  his  predecessors,  who  have 
tried  to  uplift  humanity,  excelling  Isaiah,  Juvenal  or 
Dante.  He  possesses  the  peculiar  qualities  which  marked 
each  of  them.  And  he  lives  in  France,  "height  where 
nests  human  genius."  But  in  America,  "new  theater 
which  God  destines  for  the  drama  of  the  future,  free 
races  admire  thee,  Orpheus,  who  went  down  in  search  of 
thy  beloved,  sacred  democracy.  And  across  the  seas,  O 
setting  star,  the  sons  of  the  dawn  salute  thee." 

Hugo  replied  to  this  effusion  by  nothing  more  than  a 
few  courteous  words  of  thanks;  whereby  it  was  "ill  paid," 
in  the  opinion  of  Menendez  y  Pelayo.  But  Valera  is 
uncertain  whether  Hugo  was  vexed  at  being  called  old 
and  a  setting  star  or  whether  the  French  poet  was  ignorant 
of  Castilian  and  failed  to  understand  the  poem. 

In  Prometeo,  the  most  transcendental  of  his  poems. 


Andrade  wrote  the  spiritual  history  of  the  man  of  genius, 
of  the  thinker  who  strives  for  the  good  of  the  human  race. 
We  have  perhaps  an  echo  of  Andrade's  personal  misfor- 
tunes. The  setting  of  the  poem  is  the  same  as  in  the  trag- 
edy by  ^schylus.  The  Titan  lies  chained  to  the  rocks, 
hurling  his  defiance  at  Jupiter  and  is  pitied  by  the  Ocean- 
ids.  Aside  from  the  words  which  the  poet  puts  in  the 
Titan's  mouth,  Andrade's  innovation  in  the  legend  con- 
sists in  the  term  which  he  puts  to  the  suffering.  When 
the  Titan  views  the  cross  of  Christ  on  Golgotha,  he  feels 
that  he  may  die  because  another  martyr  is  about  to  win 
the  fight  for  the  liberty  of  human  thought  and  human 

The  Spanish  critics  are  somewhat  captious  of  Andrade's 
merits  because  his  Americanism  is  distateful  to  them. 
To  Valera  the  poet's  expression  "Latin  race"  is  especially 
distressing.  He  thinks,  however,  that  Andrade,  given 
a  better  and  wider  education,  might  have  excelled  both 
Bello  and  Olmedo  as  he  is  superior  in  inspiration.  What 
the  Argentines  think  of  Andrade  has  been  well  said  thus: 
"He  is  the  true  national  poet  of  the  Argentines,  because 
he  reflects  in  his  beautiful  songs  the  aspirations  of  that 
young  and  lively  democracy  which  frets  itself  in  supreme 
longings  for  liberty,  progress,  and  civilization,  while  it 
is  the  melting  pot  for  the  diverse  elements  of  the  Latin 
races  from  which  will  spring  a  new  American  type,  des- 
tined to  preside  over  an  important  evolution  of  the 
human  species  in  the  new  world."  ^ 

Soon  after  Andrade  was  laid  in  his  tomb,  it  witnessed 
a  strange  ceremony.    A  paralytic  whose  lower  limbs  had 

*  M.  Garcia  Merou,  Recuerdos  Literarios. 


been  useless  for  ten  years,  was  brought  there  for  the  pur- 
pose of  paying  honor  to  a  fellow  poet  by  laying  on  the 
tomb  a  wreath  which  he,  Gervasio  Mendez  (1849-98),  had 
won  in  a  poetic  contest.  For  many  years  Mendez  was  a 
pathetic  figure  in  Argentine  letters.  The  poems  sent 
forth  from  his  couch  of  suffering  rang  with  no  feigned 
note  of  melancholy.  Wh^  he  besought,  in  Los  Ndufragos 
del  Mundo  the  pity  of  the  world  upon  the  failures,  or 
urged  in  Amor  Celeste  the  joy  of  religious  consolation, 
there  sprang  to  mind  the  poet's  own  story.  Friends  by 
printing  editions  of  his  poems  and  assisting  their  sale 
helped  to  keep  him  in  the  public  mind.  Leopoldo  Diaz 
in  a  sonnet  compared  him  to  the  bound  and  helpless 
Mazeppa.  In  a  measure  Mendez  was  a  precursor  of  the 
youthful  poets  whose  pseudo-melancholy  began  in  the 
late  seventies  to  be  the  fashion.  His  first  volume  of 
verses,  printed  in  1876,  was  greeted  by  the  veteran  critic 
J.  M.  Gutierrez  with  the  enthusiastic  cry  that  a  real  poet 
had  appeared  in  Argentina. 

The  early  eighties  witnessed  in  Buenos  Aires  a  peculiar 
recrudescence  of  French  romanticism  of  the  type  of  Alfred 
de  Musset.  The  youths  who  prided  themselves  on  writing 
verses  like  the  master  sought  also  to  imitate  him  in 
manner  of  life.  They  organized  a  society,  the  "Circulo 
Cientifico  Literario,"  to  foster  the  production  of  poetry 
by  listening  to  each  other's  lines.  Translations  of  their 
favorites,  such  as  Gautier's  Albertus,  De  Musset's  Rolla 
were  interspersed  with  recitations  in  the  original  of  the 
most  risque  passages  of  the  same  poets.  Making  Murger 
their  model  the  young  Bohemians  indulged  in  much 
horseplay  not  always  devoid  of  Bacchanalian  excesses. 


The  verses  of  some  of  these  young  men  are  interesting 
to  read.  Julio  E.  Mitre,  president  of  the  circle,  imitating 
the  elegies  of  Gautier  sang  that  love  was  the  sweetest  of 
goods  and  the  cruelest  of  ills.  Adolfo  Mitre  (1859-84), 
took  immense  pains  with  the  form  of  his  verses  melancholy 
in  tone  on  gloomy  topics.  Alberto  Navarro  Viola  (1856- 
85),  possessed  a  wider  literally  and  moral  horizon  in 
his  poems  on  Giordano  Bruno,  Voltaire,  and  Moreau, 
though  a  series  of  twenty-five  poems  on  the  death  of  his 
mother,  the  memory  of  her  kisses  and  his  doubts  after 
her  death,  gave  forth  the  truest  note.  He  also  published 
an  annual  bibliography  of  literary  works  printed  in 
Buenos  Aires,  which  is  now  of  real  value  to  the  student. 
To  Luis  S.  Ocampo  was  due  the  introduction  of  orgiastic 
lines  in  the  manner  of  Espronceda.  Domingo  Martinto 
strove  for  Parnassian  elegance  and  succeeded  so  well  that 
some  of  his  poems  might  easily  be  taken  for  translations 
from  the  French. 

Equally  as  careful  in  expression  was  Martin  Garcia 
Merou  (b.  1862).  His  literary  activities  were  many 
and  various,  including  attempts  at  the  Zolaistic  novel 
in  Ley  Social,  For  a  time  he  mystified  his  companions  by 
publishing  sane  criticisms  on  their  mad  verses.  To  him 
we  are  indebted  for  an  amusing  and  instructive  account 
of  the  movement  in  his  Recuerdos  Literarios.  Long  con- 
nected with  the  diplomatic  service  of  Argentina  his 
graphic  pen  described  the  life  of  those  countries  in  which 
he  resided.  More  than  fifteen  volumes  of  verses,  tales, 
and  criticism  bear  his  name.  Another  poet  who  began  to 
write  with  these  young  men  (his  ode  El  Descubrimiento 
de  America  won  a  prize  in  1882),  but  who  lived  longer 


than  they  and  continued  to  write  for  twenty-five  years 
was  Enrique  E.  Rivarola.  Among  his  later  productions 
were  realistic  prose  tales  of  life  in  Argentina. 

All  this  poetic  activity  of  the  early  eighties  in  Buenos 
Aires  created  an  atmosphere  favorable  to  the  new  ideas 
in  literature,  which  were  to  spread  from  that  center  through 
the  Spanish-American  world  till  they  affected  even  Span- 
ish poets.  The  "modernista"  movement,  though  origin- 
ating in  part  with  others,  dates  from  1888  with  the  pub- 
lication of  Azul  by  Ruben  Dario.  It  is  significant  of 
the  cosmopolitan  character  of  the  movement  that  its 
leader  was  a  native  of  Nicaragua,  who  had  come  to  Buenos 
Aires  by  way  of  the  west  coast  of  South  America.  On 
account  of  the  world-wide  influence  of  Ruben  Dario  and 
the  modernista  school  they  must  be  studied  apart  from 
the  local  poetry  of  Argentina.^ 

Lesser  or  younger  followers  of  the  movement  than  the 
galaxy  of  the  great,  those  whose  reputations  have  been 
mainly  local,  are  Emilio  Berisso,  Eugenio  Diaz  Romero,  Al- 
berto Ghiraldo  and  Ricardo  Rojas.  Enrique  Banchs,  since 
1907,  has  been  perhaps  the  most  prolific.  In  the  monthly 
review  Nosotros,  now  representing  the  best  literary  pro- 
duction of  Argentina,  find  their  opportunity  for  literary 
endeavor  such  writers  as  Juan  Mas  y  Pi,  Manuel  Galvez, 
and  Alvaro  Melian  Lafinur. 

Though  fiction  as  a  kind  of  literature  in  Argentina  began 
with  MarmoFs  Amaliay  other  novels  made  their  appear- 
ance after  the  fall  of  Rosas.  In  the  periodical  El  Plata 
cientifico  y  literario,  founded  in  1854  by  Miguel  Navarro 
Viola,  a  leading  attraction  was  the  historical  novel  La 
1  See  Chapter  XIV. 


Novia  del  Hereje  o  la  Inquisicibn  de  Lima,  by  Vicente 
Fidel  Lopez.  The  author  attempted  to  depict  society 
in  Lima  about  the  year  1578,  when  Peru  was  startled  by 
the  appearance  ofF  its  coasts  of  the  English  admiral 
Francis  Drake  on  his  famous  cruise  in  the  Pacific  ocean. 

V.  F.  Lopez,  during  his  studies  for  his  Historia  Argentinay 
found  material  for  another  story  entitled  La  Loca  de  la 
Guardia.  Such  was  the  name  given  to  a  crack-brained 
woman  living  near  the  passes  of  the  Andes,  who  used  to 
give  information  to  the  patriots  of  the  movements  of  the 
Spanish  armies.  As  her  mental  condition  was  said  to  be 
due  to  abuse  from  Spanish  soldiers,  Lopez  made  a  story 
out  of  the  mystery  of  her  life. 

The  periodical  La  Revista  de  Buenos  Aires  established  in 
^863  to  which  Lopez  contributed  historical  articles  and 
J.  M.  Gutierrez  literary  criticisms  tried  to  encourage  the 
production  of  fiction.  The  editors  promoted  an  edition, 
sold  by  subscription,  of  the  stories  of  Juana  Manuela 
Gorriti  de  Belzu.^  Though  she  had  removed  from  Ar- 
gentina in  her  childhood  and  spent  her  life  in  Bolivia  and 
Lima,  where  she  was  a  prominent  figure  in  literary  circles, 
the  people  of  Buenos  Aires  were  proud  to  claim  her  as  a 
countrywoman.  The  sale  in  1865  of  the  collection  of  her 
stories,  Sueiios  y  Realidades,  was  very  successful.  Ten 
years  later  visiting  her  native  country  she  was  received 
with  a  royal  welcome,  and  another  collection  of  her  tales. 
Panoramas  de  la  Fida,  was  brought  out. 

Another  female  writer  of  fiction  to  whom  Gutierrez 
called  the  attention  of  the  public  was  Eduarda  Mansilla  de 
Garcia  who  printed  her  work  under  the  name  of  "Daniel." 
^  See  page  257. 


She  published  in  i860  El  Medico  de  San  Luisy  a  valuable 
picture  of  contemporary  social  conditions.  The  protag- 
onist was  an  English  doctor  who  had  married  in  Ar- 
gentina. The  childish  character  of  his  wife  is  contrasted 
with  that  of  his  sister  Jane,  a  practical  woman  to  whose 
sternly  Protestant  mind  the  weaknesses  of  her  foreign 
and  Catholic  sister-in-law,  as  well  as  the  kind  of  educa- 
tion being  given  to  her  twin  nieces  is  abhorrent.  By  this 
means  the  author  made  public  her  ideas  on  the  education 
and  social  position  of  girls.  Eduarda  Mansilla  wrote  other 
novels,  one  of  which,  Lucia  Miranda,  dealt  with  the 
fortunes  of  that  colonial  heroine  so  attractive  to  Argentine 
novelists  and  dramatists  since  Labarden's  play  Siripo. 

Romantic  fiction  gave  way  to  realism  about  1880. 
Eduardo  Gutierrez*  tales  of  criminal  gauchos  mark  a 
transition  to  the  novels  which  were  inspired  by  the  appear- 
ance of  Zola's  works.  For  their  novels  his  imitators  found 
ample  material  in  the  cosmopolitan  city  Buenos  Aires. 
On  the  one  hand  the  influence  on  character  and  family  life 
of  the  sudden  acquisition  of  wealth  afforded  opportunity 
for  naturalistic  studies,  and  on  the  other  the  clash  between 
the  foreign  immigrants  and  the  native  population  pre- 
sented dramatic  contrasts. 

Eugenio  Cambaceres  was  one  of  the  first  to  write  in  the 
naturalistic  manner.  His  Silbidos  de  un  Fago,  1882,  was 
little  more  than  sketches  of  life  in  the  city  and  on  the 
estancias.  That  and  his  next  book  Musica  Sentimental 
were  greeted  by  adverse  criticism  because  the  freedom 
with  which  the  relations  between  the  sexes  was  treated 
shocked  the  public.  When,  however,  in  1885  he  published 
Sin  Rumbo  it  had  been  educated  sufficiently  to  appreciate 


the  good  points  of  the  novel.  This  is  the  story  of  a  man 
of  the  world  who  seeks  in  the  country  the  restoration  of 
his  health  undermined  by  dissipation.  On  the  estancia  he 
amuses  himself  by  making  love  to  a  humble  country  girl. 
After  a  time  he  returns  to  the  city.  Once  more  tiring  of 
fast  living  he  goes  back  to  the  estancia  where  he  finds  that 
a  son  has  been  bom  to  him.  Paternal  love  awakens  and 
makes  a  better  man  of  him.  Unluckily  his  little  Andres 
falls  sick  and  dies  whereat  the  father  is  so  grieved  that  he 
commits  suicide.  The  attraction  of  this  novel  lay  in  its 
detailed  pictures  of  native  life;  a  long  journey  on  horse- 
back across  the  sunlit  pampa,  night  on  the  farm,  the 
raging  storm  that  turned  dry  brooks  into  torrents,  the 
pathetic  death  of  little  Andres.  Moreover,  the  language 
of  the  characters,  the  jargon  of  the  peasants  and  the  slang 
of  the  city,  with  their  familiar  and  picturesque  expressions, 
added  to  the  enthusiasm  of  the  critics  who  hailed  Cam- 
baceres  as  the  founder  of  the  national  novel. 

His  next.  En  la  Sangre,  1887,  developed  the  suggestion 
of  the  title  by  a  study  of  the  influence  on  national  life  of 
the  admixture  of  ItaUan  immigration.  An  Italian  bom 
in  Buenos  Aires  and  educated  in  its  streets  succeeds  in 
marrying  a  wealthy  girl  by  first  seducing  her.  The  fortune 
thus  gained  is  lost  in  speculation  and  there  is  nothing  left 
for  Maxima  but  ill  treatment  from  her  ugly-tempered 
husband.  The  novel  had  a  tremendous  success  as  a  serial 
in  the  columns  of  a  daily  paper. 

Cambaceres,  however,  was  not  the  first  to  study  the 
foreign  element  in  the  metropolis.  And  in  fact  three 
novels  which  appeared  in  1884  must  have  helped  to  pre- 
pare the   public   for  his   somewhat  harsher  naturalism. 


Inocentes  0  culpahles  by  Antonio  Argerich  related  the  for- 
tunes of  an  Italian  immigrant  who  rises  from  his  beginning 
as  a  bootblack  through  various  trades  and  marries  above 
his  station.  The  eldest  son  is  a  dissipated  fellow  who 
finally  commits  suicide,  while  the  father  is  no  better  in  his 
later  years  and  ends  in  the  asylum  for  the  insane.  La 
Gran  Aide  a  by  Lucio  V.  Lopez  (1848-94),  son  of  V.  F. 
Lopez,  depicted  the  whole  life  of  the  city,  its  politics,  its 
morals,  its  social  diversions.  The  youthful  Blanca, 
married  on  account  of  her  horror  of  poverty,  to  an  old  man, 
and  Julio,  for  whom  she  has  a  guilty  passion,  are  the  prin- 
cipal characters.  Sketched  from  life,  the  originals  were 
known  to  the  readers  who  took  great  delight  in  the  per- 
sonal allusions,  the  racy  dialogue  and  the  epigrammatic 

The  third  novel  of  that  year,  Fruto  Vedadoy  also  a  study 
of  political  and  social  life  in  Buenos  Aires,  was  by  a  French- 
man whose  abilities  have  won  for  him  a  prominent  place 
in  the  life  of  the  city. 

Paul  Groussac  first  drew  public  attention  by  this  novel 
written  more  in  the  manner  of  Daudet  than  in  that  of 
Zola,  though  it  is  also  the  tale  of  a  guilty  love.  But  the 
hero  Marcel  is  a  hard  worker  whose  passion  for  Andrea 
resembles  more  a  blow  of  ill  fortune  than  a  bit  of  degen- 
eracy, and  when  Andrea's  blind  husband  discovers  their 
fault.  Marcel  departs  to  start  life  anew  in  Africa.  Grous- 
sac after  the  publication  of  this  novel  devoted  his  time  to 
the  cultivation  of  more  serious  literature,  essays,  bibliog- 
raphy and  history.  In  1893  he  visited  Chicago  to  deliver 
before  the  World's  Folklore  Conference  an  address  on  the 
Argentine  gaucho.    This  and  other  essays  were  published 



in  a  volume  entitled  El  Viaje  Intelectual.  The  description 
of  his  long  journey  by  way  of  the  west  coast  of  South 
America  and  throughout  the  United  States,  Del  Plata 
al  Niagara,  printed  in  1897,  is  the  most  interesting  book  of 
travel  from  the  South  American  point  of  view  that  I  know. 
Seiior  Groussac  well  deserved  his  appointment  in  1885  as 
librarian  of  the  National  Argentine  Library  in  Buenos 
Aires,  a  position  which  helpfully  to  students  he  still  holds. 
The  monthly  La  Biblioteca,  which  he  edited  for  two  years 
from  1896,  contributed  much  to  the  diffusion  of  knowledge 
r    r  concerning  early  Argentine  literature. 

The  greatest  Argentine  novelist  is  Carlos  Maria  Ocantos, 
who  may  be  correctly  termed  the  Balzac  of  his  native 
city.  Following  the  latter's  example  he  formed  a  bond  of 
union  between  his  many  novels  by  making  the  principal 
characters  members  of  the  same  family.  By  this  device  he 
could  lay  the  scenes  not  only  in  the  present  day  but  in  the 
past.  For  example,  Don  PerfectOy  published  in  1902, 
written  in  the  form  of  an  autobiography  of  an  old  man, 
gives  many  pictures  of  life  in  Buenos  Aires  as  far  back 
as  1855.  Ocantos*  first  novel,  Leon  Saldivar,  printed  in 
Madrid  in  1888  when  the  author  was  secretary  there  of  the 
Argentine  legation,  was  greeted  with  applause.  The 
critic  Ernesto  Quesada,  an  Argentine  essayist  of  power, 
said  that  the  novel  realized  in  prose  Echeverria's  famous 
dictum  regarding  the  field  of  Argentine  poetry. 

Leon  Saldivar  is  a  rich  young  man  who  leads  the  ordi- 
nary life  of  elegant  society  in  Buenos  Aires.  He  courts 
Lucia  Guerra,  whose  father  is  a  wealthy  cattle  raiser, 
living  six  months  of  the  year  on  his  estancia  and  spending 
the  rest  of  the  time  in  the  fashionable  life  of  the  city. 


The  family's  manners  thus  stand  In  ridiculous  contrast  | 
with  the  refinement  of  their  associates.  The  mother 
allows  her  ambitions  to  sacrifice  her  daughter  to  the  wiles 
of  a  fortune-hunting  Frenchman,  who  celebrates  his 
marriage  with  Lucia  by  getting  drunk  at  their  wedding. 
A  few  months  later  the  police  appear  at  their  house,  guided 
by  the  man's  wife  from  France.  It  seems  he  is  an  escaped 
convict  whose  deserted  wife  revenges  herself  by  getting 
him  sent  back  to  prison.  Lucia's  wedding  had  so  affected 
Leon  that  he  fell  sick  with  brain  fever.  When  he  recovers 
he  determines  to  seek  restoration  of  his  health  by  a  trip 
to  Europe.  Meeting  Lucia  accidentally  he  is  about  to 
refer  to  her  misfortunes  when  she  tells  him  that  she  is 
going  to  sail  to  Europe  to  join  her  husband  called  there 
because  his  aged  mother  was  dying.  Such  indiflPerence 
and  levity  of  mind  in  Lucia  puts  an  end  to  Leon's  infatua- 
tion. When  he  reaches  home  he  discovers  that  he  is 
really  in  love  with  Cruzita,  an  orphan  girl  whom  his 
mother  had  brought  up.  To  marry  her  he  postpones 
indefinitely  his  European  trip. 

The  interesting  pictures  of  native  life,  the  carnival, 
parties,  dances,  the  fashionable  Progreso  club,  the  summer 
sports,  the  wedding,  are  drawn  from  reality  with  a  master 
hand.  Ocantos  applied  his  descriptive  talent  to  the  com- 
position of  a  series  of  novels  which  now  numbers  a  long 
list  of  titles.  They  treat  the  many  phases  of  life  in  the 
Argentine  metropolis.  The  important  one  of  immigration, 
especially  of  Italians,  receives  due  consideration,  notably 
in  one  of  the  latest  novels  El  Peligro,  191 1. 

The  peculiarities  of  society  in  Buenos  Aires  from  the  fem- 
inine standpoint  found  an  excellent  interpretation  in  Stella, 


published  anonymously  in  1905  by  "Cesar  Duayen,"  who 
afterward  proved  to  be  a  well-known  lady,  Emma  de 
la  Barra.  The  keenness  of  observation  displayed  in  this 
book,  the  accuracy  of  its  details  of  wealthy  families,  and 
its  pathos  awakened  a  justly  merited  interest.  While 
the  story  does  not  deal  specifically  with  the  question  of 
the  mingling  of  races  in  Argentina,  the  fact  that  its  heroine, 
Alejandra  Fussier,  is  the  daughter  of  a  Norwegian  scientist 
who  had  married  into  a  prominent  family  touches  the 
problem.  The  child  of  the  south  had  been  unable  to  with- 
stand the  climate  of  the  cold  north  and  had  died  leaving 
two  daughters.  The  novel  opens  with  the  arrival  at  her 
rich  uncle's  house  of  Alejandra  bearing  her  little  sister 
Stella,  whose  lower  limbs  are  paralyzed.  Her  father  had 
never  returned  from  a  scientific  expedition  to  the  Arctic. 
According  to  his  instructions  in  that  event  she  had  come 
to  Buenos  Aires.  Having  inherited  her  father's  talent, 
being  well  educated  and  showing  in  her  disposition  the 
northern  strain  in  her  blood,  Alejandra  proved  very  at- 
tractive to  the  men  of  the  household,  especially  to  Maximo, 
the  bachelor  brother  of  her  uncle's  wife,  because  she  was 
such  a  contrast  to  the  native  women.  Moreover,  her 
womanly  qualities  in  caring  devotedly  for  the  crippled 
Stella  irresistibly  drew  the  man  of  the  world  to  her  side. 
Maximo  began  to  devote  almost  as  much  attention  to 
Stella  as  Alejandra  herself.  Consequently  when  the  poor 
child  died,  it  was  easy  for  Alejandra  to  accept  Maximo's 
offer  of  marriage. 

Conditions  on  the  estancias  and  in  the  country  villages 
have  also  formed  the  subject  of  numerous  sketches  and 
tales.     Their  realistic  details  lend  them  both  attraction 


and  power,  though  the  author's  choice  of  episode  is  often 
gruesome  and  sometimes  revolting.  Roberto  J.  Payro, 
Martiniano  P.  Leguizambn,  Manuel  Ugarte,  Godofredo 
Daireaux,  and  Carlos  Octavio  Bunge  have  practiced  with 
success  this  type  of  literature.  Bunge  and  Ugarte  have 
also  attracted  attention  as  essayists  on  matters  of  literature 
and  public  affairs. 

The  latest  novels  to  win  praise  are  La  Gloria  de  Don 
Ramirezy  191 1,  by  Enrique  Rodriguez  Larreta,  which  in 
most  excellent  style  reconstructs  a  historical  epoch  of 
the  Middle  Ages  in  Spain;  and  La  Novela  de  Torquato 
Mendez  by  Martin  Aldeo,  191 2.  The  latter  is  another 
study  of  wealthy  society  in  Buenos  Aires,  and  is  specially 
recommended  to  those  who  wish  to  obtain  a  conception 
of  the  great  cosmopolitan  metropolis  of  the  southern 



In  studying  the  literary  productions  of  the  Republica 
Oriental  de  Uruguay  it  is  well  to  bear  in  mind  the  adjec- 
tive in  the  official  name  of  this  country.  It  remains  from 
the  local  term  of  Banda  Oriental  applied  to  the  region 
before  its  establishment  as  an  independent  republic. 
After  the  struggle  with  Spain  the  emperor  of  Brazil  laid 
claim  to  the  country,  but  the  political  question  was  settled 
at  the  battle  of  Ituzaingo,  where  troops  from  Buenos 
Aires  assisted.  The  capital,  Montevideo,  situated  on  the 
*  eastern  side  of  the  estuary  of  La  Plata  is  a  sister  city  to 
the  capital  of  the  Argentine  Republic.  Their  intellectual 
life  has  been  similar  and  their  literary  productions  have 
appeared  in  the  journals  of  either  city  according  as  polit- 
ical exigencies  have  dictated  the  residence  of  the  author. 
Again  their  material  wealth  is  based  on  the  same  indus- 
tries, cattle  and  grain,  so  that  conditions  of  life  are  much 
the  same. 

The  patriarch  of  letters  in  Uruguay  was  Francisco 
Acufia  de  Figueroa  (i  790-1 862).  He  was  a  monarchist, 
educated  by  the  Jesuits,  and  his  earliest  verses  were 
satires  against  the  colonists  who  were  fighting  for  in- 
dependence. When  they  were  successful  he  had  to  take 
refuge  in  Brazil.  Later  he  was  permitted  to  return.  How 
well  he  became  reconciled,  is  evident  from  the  truly  pa- 



triotic  inspiration  of  the  national  hymn  of  which  he  is 
the  author.  His  popularity  as  a  literary  man  brought 
him  such  positions  as  treasurer  general,  director  of  the 
national  library,  and  censor  of  theaters. 

His  verses,  composed  in  the  classic  forms,  sonnets, 
letrillas,  odes,  canciones,  and  decimas,  fill  twelve  volumes 
in  the  collected  edition  of  1846,  so  arranged  according 
to  the  explanation  of  the  author,  as  to  afford  the  reader 
an  agreeable  variety  of  matter.  There  is  a  little  of  all 
sorts,  political,  religious,  praise  of  the  bull-fight,  con- 
gratulations on  family  events  or  election  to  office,  epi- 
grams on  current  gags,  anecdotes  or  scandals.  In  explain- 
ing the  liking  of  the  Uruguayans  for  the  poet,  F.  Bauza  ^ 
says: — "There  is  something  local,  characteristic,  and  pecul- 
iarly ours  in  his  style,  in  his  turns  of  expression,  in  all  he  has 
produced.  On  his  pages  may  be  observed  the  reflection 
of  what  is  most  habitual  with  us  and  what  we  like  best.*' 

It  was  natural  that  Acuiia  de  Figueroa  should  be  an 
opponent  of  the  romantic  school.  So  when  the  Argentine 
leaders  of  that  school,  Echeverria,  Mitre,  F.  Varela,  Rivera 
Indarte,  Marmol,  were  refugees  in  Montevideo  about 
1844,  he  turned  his  sharp  wit  upon  them.  He  satirized 
their  peculiarities  in  a  mock  epic,  entitled  La  Mdam- 
brunada,  divided  in  three  cantos.  It  relates  the  war 
which  some  old  women  begin  in  envy  upon  the  young 
women.  The  first  canto  describes  the  congress  of  witches 
presided  over  by  Satan  before  whom  Malambrunada 
argues  her  case  seeking  their  assistance.  In  the  second 
canto  the  old  women  assemble  under  different  standards. 
Falcomba  strives  to  obtain  the  chief  command.  Voted 
1  F.  Bauza,  Estudios  Liter arios. 


down  she  opposes  the  plan  to  march  at  night  and  surprise 
the  young.  The  question  being  referred  to  a  council  of 
thirty  they  approve  the  plan.  The  scene  of  the  third 
canto  shifts  to  the  young  women.  Venus  has  resolved 
that  they  shall  not  be  surprised.  So  she  urges  them  to 
choose  a  leader  and  prepare  their  forces.  They  elect 
Violante  to  whom  is  given  as  a  badge  of  authority  a  crown 
of  laurel  interspersed  with  rubies.  When  Cupid  sees  her, 
he  cries  out  that  she  is  more  bewitching  than  Psyche. 
Accordingly  the  old  women  fail  in  surprising  the  young 
and  when  the  armies  meet  in  a  plain,  Venus  guides  Vio- 
lante and  her  escort  to  the  place  where  Malambrunada 
has  taken  her  stand.  The  old  leader  is  beaten  and  killed. 
The  rest  of  the  old  women  flee  into  a  swamp  where  Satan 
hides  them  by  turning  them  into  croaking  frogs.  In  this 
satire  on  the  quarrel  between  the  classicists  and  the 
romanticists,  the  poet,  to  be  sure,  gives  the  victory  to  the 
latter,  but  he  makes  their  exaggerations  and  mannerisms 
ridiculous  by  imitating  their  style  and  fantastic  episodes. 

While  humor  and  Andalusian  salt  may  predominate 
in  the  verses  of  Acuna  de  Figueroa,  it  would  be  wrong  to 
suppose  that  he  was  incapable  of  a  more  elevated  strain. 
Few  poems  have  been  written  more  heart-stirring  than 
La  Madre  africana  whose  purpose  was  to  put  an  end  to 
the  African  slave  trade,  at  least  that  part  of  it  which  was 
carried  on  in  the  ship  Aguila  flying  the  flag  of  Uruguay. 
Very  nobly  and  simply  expressed  are  the  feelings  of  the 
woman  who  sees  herself  robbed  of  husband  and  children. 
Very  scornful  are  the  words  of  the  poet  referring  to  the 
"bravos  who  proclaim  liberty  and  make  slaves." 

In  spite  of  ridicule  the  young  men  in  Montevideo  fol- 


lowed  the  romantic  order.  The  first  in  point  of  time  was 
X  Adolfo  Berro  (i 8 19-41).  The  amount  and  quality  of 
his  work  is  all  the  more  remarkable  on  account  of  the 
shortness  of  his  life.  His  sympathies  are  with  the  fallen 
and  the  downcast,  the  grief-stricken  of  all  kinds.  And 
true  to  the  example  of  his  master,  Echeverria,  he  sought 
also  to  exploit  the  poetic  in  native  life,  as  in  the  ballad  of 
Yandubayu  and  Liropeya.  The  young  Indian  and  the 
Spaniard  Carvallo  are  wrestling  in  sport.  When  the 
maiden  Liropeya  reminds  her  lover  that  he  must  that 
day  fight  for  her  possession  with  certain  of  her  suitors, 
he  desists  from  the  sport.  The  Spaniard  then  treacher- 
ously kills  him  in  order  to  make  love  to  the  maid.  She 
indignantly  rejects  his  advances,  then  suddenly  consents 
to  follow  him  if  he  will  dig  a  grave  for  Yandubayu.  While 
the  Spaniard  is  digging,  she  gets  possession  of  his  sword. 
After  he  has  finished  his  task  and  come  for  her,  she  kills 
herself,  bidding  him  to  open  another  grave. 
^  The  same  legend  was  used  by  Pedro  P.  Bermudez 
(1816-60)  who  turned  it  into  a  lyric  drama.  El  CharruUy 
in  five  acts  and  in  verse  which  was  produced  with  very 
great  success  in  Montevideo.  The  title  was  derived  from 
the  name  of  the  tribe  of  aborigines  found  by  the  Spaniards 
at  their  arrival  in  Uruguay.  Some  of  their  peculiar  qual- 
ties,  stubborn  courage,  taciturnity,  and  reserve,  they 
bequeathed  with  the  strain  of  their  blood  to  the  present 
inhabitants  of  that  region.  Hence  the  poetic  appeal  met 
with  a  certain  atavistic  response  in  the  hearers  of  the 
drama.  The  action,  laid  in  1573,  is  slight,  so  that  the  pro- 
duction might  better  be  termed  a  dramatic  poem.  The 
youth  Abayuba  adores  the  maid  Lirompeya.    Her  father, 


Zapican,  is  willing  to  grant  him  her  hand  as  soon  as  the 
lad  has  driven  the  Spaniards  from  the  country.  He  calls 
together  the  chiefs  who  decide  on  war.  Act  three  is  de- 
voted to  the  farewells  of  the  lovers.  In  act  four  the 
Spanish  captain  Carvallo  challenges  Abayuba,  but  by 
guile  he  gets  him  as  well  as  the  maid  Lirompeya  into  his 
power.  The  latter  resists  the  captain's  advances  even 
though  he  announces  to  her  the  torture  of  her  lover  in 
prison.  In  act  five  Lirompeya  succeeds  in  getting  hold 
of  Carvallo's  dagger.  Abayuba  breaks  from  his  prison 
and  finds  his  beloved.  After  a  love  scene,  she  strikes 
herself  with  the  dagger  and  hands  it  to  the  young  man 
who  follows  her  example  by  killing  himself. 

In  lyric  poetry  the  most  successful  romantic  was  Juan  y 
Carlos  Gomez  (1820-84).  There  is  a  personal  note  in 
his  lines  undoubtedly  derived  from  the  vicissitudes  of 
his  life.  One  feels  that  he  is  sincere  when  he  sings  his 
homesickness  or  rails  at  the  evil  of  the  world.  He  was 
by  profession  a  lawyer,  but  during  his  many  proscriptions 
from  his  native  country  he  earned  his  living  by  journalis- 
tic work.  He  was  one  of  the  group  who  carried  the  roman- 
tic movement  to  Chile  and  was  employed  as  a  writer  for 
the  Mercurio  of  Santiago  from  1845  to  1852.  When  he 
returned  to  his  home  he  engaged  in  politics  only  to  be 
obliged  shortly  to  flee  to  Buenos  Aires.  There  he  became 
one  of  the  leading  journalists  possessed  of  a  trenchant, 
epigrammatic  style  quite  in  contrast  with  the  vague, 
mournful  tone  of  his  verses.  But  he  was  not  beloved  in 
Montevideo,  because  he  long  waged  a  press  campaign 
in  favor  of  annexing  the  Band  a  Oriental  to  the  Argentine 


In  spite  of  his  sufferings  at  the  hands  of  political  tyrants, 
Gomez  did  not  break  forth  in  vituperation  like  Marmol, 
but  expressed  his  emotions  in  poetical  metaphor.  La  Nuhe 
is  an  example  of  this.  In  this  poem  he  inquires  of  the 
cloud: — "Why  weep  upon  the  earth  that  does  not  deserve 
it.?  Its  perfumes  serve  only  to  cover  its  evil.**  In  many 
poems  he  finds  comparisons  between  his  personality  and 
the  sea,  the  sea  that  he  had  crossed  so  often,  as  a  fugitive. 
He  put  himself  also  in  a  legend  in  six  cantos  dealing  with 
an  old  man,  Figueredo,  who  hates  to  see  Uruguay  under 
the  domination  of  Brazilians.  To  the  accompaniment 
of  his  guitar  he  sings  to  stir  up  his  sons  to  a  desire  for 
emancipation.  Finally  he  throws  away  the  instrument, 
urging  them  to  fight.  Unfortunately  in  the  first  encounter 
through  the  fall  of  his  horse  the  old  man  is  taken  prisoner 
and  his  sons  are  unable  to  rescue  him.  When  he  is  lib- 
erated and  permitted  to  return  to  his  country,  in  a  long 
apostrophe  he  refuses  to  do  so  because  it  is  under  the 
domination  of  Brazil. 

Of  the  same  period  as  Gomez  but  with  decided  class- 
ical leanings  were  Bernardo  Prudencia  Berro  (1803-68), 
at  one  time  president  of  the  republic  who  met  his  death 
leading  a  revolution;  Enrique  de  Arrascaeta  a  correct  but 
cold  rhymster;  and  Francis  X.  de  Acha  (1828-88). 

While  the  Argentines  were  pouring  out  their  diatribes 
against  the  tyrant  Rosas,  the  Uruguayans  found  material 
for  the  drama  in  his  rule.  Francis  X.  de  Acha  wrote  in 
verse  Una  Victima  de  Rosas,  then  La  Fusion,  produced 
in  1 85 1,  the  story  of  two  friends  separated  by  the  civil 
war.  Acha  was  a  journalist  and  editor  of  El  Molinillo,  a 
satirical  sheet.    To  this  and  to  other  papers  he  contrib- 


uted  many  verses  of  a  romantic  type  protesting  against 
the  civil  war  and  various  social  evils.  The  furt-loving 
strain  of  his  nature  led  him  also  to  write  comedies.  Bromas 
caseras  depicts  in  three  acts  the  torments  suffered  by  the 
husband  of  a  jealous  wife.  In  1877  was  represented  his 
romantic  drama,  Como  empieza  acaha.  Federico  tricks 
Magdalena,  the  daughter  of  his  partner,  into  marriage 
during  the  absence  of  her  lover  Carlos,  who  had  been  sent 
to  Havana  on  business.  Carlos,  on  his  return,  is  found 
making  love  to  the  lady  by  her  husband.  They  fight 
and  Federico  dies.  But  Magdalena  refuses  to  marry, 
preferring  the  convent. 

Another  drama  concerning  Rosas,  Camila  O'Cormatiy 
was  written  by  Heraclio  C.  Fajardo  (1833-67)  and  pro- 
duced in  1856,  with  great  success.  This  dealt  with  a 
particularly  notorious  act,  the  execution  of  a  priest  named 
Gutierrez  and  a  woman,  Camila  O'Gorman.  In  the  play 
a  platonic  affection  is  shown  to  exist  between  Camila 
and  the  priest  who  is  her  piano  teacher.  A  mutual  friend, 
Lazaro,  is  arrested  as  a  conspirator  against  Rosas.  To 
save  their  friend's  life  by  pleading  with  the  tyrant,  they 
go  together  to  his  house.  Rosas  is  smitten  with  violent 
desire  at  the  sight  of  Camila's  beauty.  During  a  momen- 
tary absence  of  the  former,  the  friends  refer  their  case  to 
Manuelita,  Rosas'  angelic  daughter.  She  promises  to  save 
Lazaro  but  warns  that  only  flight  can  save  Camila's  virtue 
from  the  base  purposes  of  her  father.  Act  four  discloses 
Gutierrez,  Lazaro,  and  Camila  free  but  in  the  act  of 
conspiring  against  Rosas.  A  certain  Ganon  who  is  him- 
self in  love  with  Camila  leads  the  police  to  their  resort. 
All  escape  the  raid  except  Camila,  but  she  is  rescued  later 


by  her  friends.  The  love  between  Gutierrez  and  Camila 
ceases  to  be  platonlc.  Gandn  betrays  their  whereabouts 
to  the  police.  Arrested,  they  are  shot  according  to  the 
orders  of  Rosas  in  spite  of  the  pleadings  of  Manuelita. 

Cursing  Rosas  in  imitation  of  Marmol  was  also  a  poetic 
diversion  of  Fajardo,  but  he  did  not  do  it  quite  so  well  as 
his  master.  In  other  ways  he  won  a  reputation  as  a  poet. 
He  won  the  gold  medal  in  the  certamen  of  1858  by  an  ode 
on  America  y  Colon,  Two  years  later  he  published  a  long 
poem  occupying  over  a  hundred  printed  pages,  La  Cruz  de 
Azabache  and  in  1862  a  volume  of  collected  verse,  Arenas 
del  Uruguay,  The  long  poem  treats  the  love  affairs  of  a 
poet,  Helio  by  name.  After  a  series  of  women.  Ana,  Maria, 
Yola  who  deceives  him,  he  meets  Vitalia.  The  last  he  is 
obliged  to  leave  in  order  to  take  part  in  the  war.  As  a 
remembrance  he  takes  with  him  a  "cross  of  jet."  Little 
results  from  his  participation  in  the  war  though  he  is 
constantly  dreaming  of  Vitalia.  In  the  meantime,  Yola 
writes  a  lying  letter  to  Vitalia  saying  all  manner  of  evil 
about  Helio,  among  other  things  that  he  had  left  her.  The 
poem  concludes  with  the  death  of  Vitalia  distressed  by 
the  vision  of  a  battle  field  on  which  vultures  devour  the 
corpse  of  Helio. 

The  greatest  figure  in  Uruguayan  letters  is  undoubtedly 
Alejandro  Magarifios  Cervantes  (1825-93).  At  the  age 
of  twenty  he  was  connected  with  the  legation  in  Brazil. 
A  year  later  he  started  for  Europe.  While  still  a  student 
in  Madrid  he  published  his  first  novel,  La  Estrella  del  Sur^ 
which  he  had  written  in  part  during  his  voyage  from 
America.  This  was  followed  by  two  plays,  Percances 
matrimoniales  and  Amor  y  P atria.    In  1852  he  gave  to  the 


world  his  poetic  legend  Cellar  to  which  he  owed  his  great- 
est fame.  On  somewhat  similar  lines  was  written  in  prose 
Caramuru,  his  best  novel.  In  1855  he  returned  to  Uruguay 
where  during  the  remainder  of  his  life  he  enjoyed  various 
public  offices  among  which  were  those  of  rector  of  the 
university  and  senator.  The  volumes  of  collected  verse, 
Brisas  del  Plata,  1864,  and  P almas  y  OmbueSy  1884, 
were  distinguished  by  their  intense  patriotism  and  local 

The  scene  of  Celiar  is  laid  on  a  ranch  belonging  to  Don 
Diego  Sandoval,  father  of  a  pretty  daughter.  The  social 
conditions  are  those  of  the  eighteenth  century.  Don  Juan 
de  Altamira  is  the  commander  and  tyrant  of  the  town 
near  the  ranch.  He  makes  love  to  Isabel,  but  her  head 
and  heart  have  no  place  for  him,  because  the  handsome 
and  dashing  gaucho,  Celiar,  fills  them.  She  even  snubs 
the  proud  Spaniard,  who  then  pretends  to  give  her  up 
to  his  rival.  Three  days  before  their  projected  wedding 
there  is  brought  to  Celiar  a  letter  asking  him  to  come  to 
the  bedside  of  a  dying  uncle  who  had  been  a  father  to 
him  in  his  childhood.  Celiar  sets  out  by  moonlight,  but 
well  on  the  way  his  party  is  surprised  by  "Indians," 
of  whom  Don  Juan  is  the  leader.  Don  Juan  stabs  Celiar 
three  times.  Nobody  dares  denounce  this  act  because 
the  Spaniard  is  the  legal  representative  of  the  king  of 
Spain.  He  himself,  however,  is  somewhat  uneasy  because 
Celiar's  corpse  disappeared.  Another  victim  of  Altamira 
is  then  introduced  to  the  reader,  a  maid,  Emilia.  When 
she  dies  in  child-birth  her  betrothed  promises  to  avenge 
her  wrongs  on  the  Spaniard.  So  he  flees  to  the  Charruas, 
who  at  the  moment  are  ravaging  the  white  settlements 


under  a  mysterious  cacique  Toluba.  He  is  really  Celiar. 
The  band  descends  upon  the  village  where  Don  Juan  com- 
mands and  Celiar  kills  him.  But  Celiar  and  Isabel,  who 
are  both  injured,  die  in  each  other's  arms. 

Celiar  is  a  novel  in  verse,  written  for  the  public  in  Ma- 
drid. Consequently  the  poet  was  obliged  to  make  ex- 
planations of  conditions,  which  mars  the  flow  of  his  nar- 
rative. In  Caramuru,  however,  prose  allows  the  author 
greater  liberty  of  expression. 

Caramuru  is  a  gaucho,  who  has  carried  off  Lia,  the 
daughter  of  a  city  lawyer,  to  save  her  from  marrying  a 
man  whom  she  dislikes.  Moreover,  he  had  saved  her 
life  from  a  wild  beast  so  that  she  has  fallen  in  love  with 
him,  but  he  maintains  her  in  platonic  affection,  in  a 
covert  in  the  woods.  After  her  flight  with  him,  Caramuru 
enters  a  drinking  place  where  other  gauchos  are  discussing 
the  mysterious  event.  One  of  them  remarks  significantly 
that  he  knows  the  abductor  and  the  whereabouts  of  the 
young  woman.  Caramuru  fights  with  him  and  kills  him. 
When  the  other  gauchos  pursue  the  assassin  through  the 
night,  he  eludes  them  by  dropping  off  his  horse,  which 
goes  racing  on,  leading  the  pursuers  far  astray.  Under 
the  name  of  Amaro  our  gaucho  enters  the  service  of  a  rich 
Brazilian.  In  time  he  asks  his  employer  to  loan  him  a 
large  sum  of  money.  The  Brazilian  promises  him  a  large 
reward,  if  Amaro  will  obtain  a  horse  that  can  win  a  cer- 
tain race.  Now  Amaro  is  aware  that  an  Indian  cacique 
possesses  an  exceedingly  swift  horse,  so  he  proceeds  to 
his  camp.  By  a  little  trickery,  by  frightening  the  Indians 
by  big  medicine,  he  succeeds  in  getting  away  with  the 
horse.    When  the  day  of  the  race  is  at  hand  the  Indian 


horse  Dayman  has  for  its  only  serious  competitor,  a  noble 
animal,  Atahualpa.  The  description  of  the  horse  race 
forms  one  of  the  most  spirited  passages  in  the  book. 
Atahualpa  exerts  himself  to  the  utmost,  even  bursting 
a  blood  vessel  and  falling  close  to  the  goal.  As  Amaro 
races  by  on  Dayman,  he  is  recognized  by  a  soldier  as  the 
fugitive  Caramuru.  The  latter  is  warned  in  time  and 
again  escapes  by  means  of  the  speedy  Indian  horse.  Soon 
after  he  learns  that  his  hidden  damsel  is  the  daughter  of 
Don  Carlos  Niger  to  whom  he  owes  his  life.  Consequently, 
he  brings  her  back  to  her  father.  This  gives  rise  to  a 
fight  between  Don  Alvaro  de  Itapeby,  to  whom  Lia  was 
engaged,  and  Caramuru.  They  meet  in  single  combat 
at  the  battle  of  Ituzaingo  where  Caramuru  gives  his 
adversary  a  mortal  wound.  As  Don  Alvaro  lies  dying  in 
Caramuru's  presence  he  discovers  that  the  latter  is  his 
half  brother,  an  illegitimate  son  of  his  own  father.  With 
his  dying  words  he  blesses  the  love  of  Caramuru  for  Lia. 

Criticism  has  been  hiade  that  this  love  affair  during 
its  existence  in  the  forest  was  too  platonic  for  reality. 
However  that  may  be,  Magarinos  Cervantes  has  succeeded 
in  presenting  an  excellent  picture  of  gaucho  life  and  its 
ideals,  love  making,  drinking,  fighting  and  horse  racing. 
No  other  man  so  completely  dominates  and  incarnates 
the  spirit  of  Uruguayan  literature  between  1840  and  1879. 
Therefore  his  admirers  taking  their  cue  from  the  identity 
of  name  are  fond  of  referring  to  the  author  as  the  "Cer- 
vantes criollo." 

In  1865  there  was  published  in  Montevideo  La  Revista 
literaria  in  which  appeared  the  verses  of  Melchor  Pacheco 
y  Obes  and  Laurindo  Lapuente.    The  former  were  given 


to  the  world  by  his  widow.  Their  tone  was  melancholy 
and  sentimental  and  are  well  exemplified  by  the  poem 
A  una  Cruz  en  medio  del  Campo  which  Magarinos  Cer- 
vantes included  in  his  excellent  Album  de  Poesias  urugu- 
ayas.  It  is  like  life  this  lonely  cross  and  grave,  according 
to  the  poet. 

In  contrast  to  Pacheco,  Lapuente  forgets  himself  in 
an  exalted  praise  of  liberty  and  America,  and  his  heroes 
San  Martin  and  Bolivar.  In  ringing  verse  he  put  such 
sentiments  as  this: — "Land  of  hope  was  America  for  the 
human  race.  In  her  heart  God  put  a  treasure  more  pre- 
cious than  the  metal  of  her  mines,  which  Spain  filched 
from  her — liberty." 

These  two  poets  terminate  the  first  period  of  romantic 
poetry  in  Uruguay.  After  them  the  intensely  personal  note 
is  greatly  modified,  for  their  successors  in  the  next  decade 
believed  that  poetry  had  a  mission  to  put  religion  and 
philosophy  within  the  reach  of  the  people.  Moreover, 
the  younger  generation  were  solicitous  of  form. 

Of  poets  who  came  into  notice  during  the  seventies 
there  are  deserving  of  mention  Washington  P.  Bermudez, 
born  in  1847,  the  son  of  Pedro  P.  Bermudez,  Victoriano  E. 
Montes,  Joaquin  de  Salterain,  a  well-known  physician, 
and  Antonio  Lussich.  The  last  was  only  one  of  a  number 
of  minor  writers  cherishing  the  tradition  of  the  gaucho 
verse.  As  an  exponent  of  gaucho  literature  Orosman 
Moratorio  (1852-98)  distinguished  himself  in  numerous 
ephemeral  dramas.  The  most  attractive  at  this  distance 
of  the  poets  in  the  above  group  is  Montes.  His  Tejedora 
de  nandutiy  the  country  lass  who  rejects  the  city  wooer, 
touches  the  heart  just  as  El  Tamhor  de  San  Martin,  the 



old  soldier  who  recollects  the  glories  of  the  war  for  in- 
dependence, arouses  enthusiasm. 

Washington  P.  Bermudez  first  attracted  attention  by 
reciting  a  heroic  ode  of  his  own  composition,  Gloria  a  los 
BravoSy  referring  to  the  successful  defenders  of  Paysandu 
in  the  war  with  Brazil.  But  he  could  also  write  witty 
and  satirical  lines  as  shown  by  his  compositions  in  the 
political  journal.  El  Negro  Timoteo.  His  greatest  literary 
fame,  however,  like  that  of  his  father,  rests  upon  a  histori- 
cal drama,  Artigas.  As  a  patriotic  appeal  to  the  Uru- 
guayans this  career  of  their  national  hero  presented  in 
four  acts  and  many  scenes  with  a  final  hymn  to  the  na- 
tional colors  was  a  triumph.  Though  Bermudez  wrote 
other  plays  none  met  with  like  success. 

Another  dramatist  dealing  with  the  period  of  revolution 
was  Estenilaso  Perez  Nieto  in  Apariencias  y  Realidades, 
The  patriotic  sentiments  in  his  drama  are,  however, 
incidental  to  the  main  action.  This  is  laid  in  the  camp  of 
the  famous  "Thirty-three,"  that  devoted  band  under  the 
leadership  of  Lavalleja  who  demanded  from  Brazil  in 
1825  either  liberty  or  death,  and  won  the  former.  In 
the  play  the  villain  Carlos  in  order  to  ruin  his  rival  Alberto 
brings  the  Portuguese  into  the  camp  in  such  wise  as 
to  throw  suspicion  on  him.  At  the  same  time  Carlos  has 
secreted  in  Alberto's  tent  a  young  girl  whom  he  himself 
had  seduced  and  then  brings  upon  the  scene  Elena,  Al- 
berto's fiancee.  But  both  the  Portuguese  and  the  young 
girl  accuse  Carlos  so  that  Alberto  is  cleared  of  the  suspicion 
of  treachery  and  reunited  to  his  fiancee.  This  play  greatly 
pleased  the  public  of  1877. 

The  notion  that  poetry  had  a  definite  idealistic  mission 



had  its  stronghold  in  the  society  known  as  the  "Ateneo 
del  Uruguay."  In  its  public  meetings  the  veteran  poet 
Arrascaeta  announced  the  holy  liberty  of  humanity; 
Luis  Melian  Lafinur  cursed  tyrants;  and  Jose  G.  Del 
Busto  in  his  odes  A  Grecia,  A  Polonia,  El  Ideal,  hurled 
Tyrtaean  strophes  at  a  people  crushed  under  a  despotic 
dictator.  His  epic  romance  El  Ultimo  de  los  Treinta  y 
Tresy  a  cry  of  indignation  at  the  neglect  of  the  last 
of  these  heroes  dying  in  poverty,  received  great  ap- 
plause. Del  Busto  is  the  interpreter  of  the  ideas  and 
conscience  of  his  country  just  before  the  revolution  of 

During  this  same  period  romanticism  in  Uruguay  re- 
ceived an  original  bent  from  a  poet  who  stands  alone  in 
X  his  class  and  manner.  Juan  Zorrilla  de  San  Martin, 
bom  in  Montevideo  in  1857,  was  sent  to  study  in  the 
University  of  Santiago  de  Chile.  He  returned  home  in 
1877  with  a  printed  volume  of  verses  bearing  the  title  of 
Notas  de  un  Himno  whose  themes  were  mainly  faith  and 
love.  He  then  began  work  on  the  masterpiece  of  Uru- 
guayan literature,  the  long  poem  Tabare,  which  he  read 
in  sections  to  the  public  as  fast  as  it  was  written.  When 
finally  published  it  was  composed  of  six  cantos  and 
more  than  forty-five  hundred  lines.  At  such  length  the 
poet  recited  the  tragic  love  of  Tabare,  the  half  breed 
Charrua  Indian,  whose  Spanish  mother  had  taught  him 
to  kiss  the  cross.  The  soft  blue  eyes  of  the  mother,  now 
dead,  who  used  to  sing  to  him,  haunted  his  memory.  So 
when  brought  a  prisoner  to  the  stockade  of  the  whites  he 
fell  violently  in  love  with  Blanca,  the  sister  of  the  Spanish 
commander,  Don  Gonzalo.     After  a  while  the  love-sick 


Indian  is  allowed  to  depart  to  his  tribe.  He  arrives  to 
find  that  the  tribesmen  are  celebrating  the  funeral  dance 
of  their  deceased  cacique.  A  certain  Yamandu  persuades 
them  to  elect  him  their  chief  and  then  to  celebrate  his 
election  by  beginning  an  attack  upon  the  settlement  of 
the  whites.  Yamandu  is  the  villain  in  the  tragedy.  He 
also  has  seen  Blanca  and  to  carry  her  ofF  is  for  him  a  prime 
reason  for  the  raid.  The  savages  are  successful.  From 
the  burning  houses  of  the  Spanish  village  Yamandu  bears 
Blanca  into  the  recesses  of  the  forest.  When  Don  Gonzalo 
discovers  the  disappearance  of  his  sister,  instantly  attribut- 
ing the  raid  to  Tabare,  he  organizes  a  posse  in  pursuit. 
In  the  meantime  Yamandu  waits  beside  the  unconscious 
body  of  Blanca  for  her  to  recover  from  her  swoon.  Just 
as  she  opens  her  eyes  she  becomes  aware  of  the  struggling 
forms  of  two  fighting  men.  Tabare  had  followed  Yamandu 
and  there  kills  him.  Tabare  then  carries  Blanca  toward  the 
settlement.  Don  Gonzalo  meets  them.  Rushing  at  the 
Indian,  in  ignorance  of  the  truth  the  Spaniard  plunges 
his  sword  into  Tabare's  heart.  The  poor  savage  is  only 
too  happy  to  die  as  Blanca  weeps  over  him  and  embraces 
him.  In  the  closing  words  of  the  poem:  "The  Indian  is  \y 
silent  forever,  like  his  race,  like  the  desert,  a  tongueless 
mouth,  a  heavenless  eternity." 

Comparison  of  Tabare  with  Longfellow's  Hiawatha  has 
occurred  to  many,  but  there  is  little  similarity  either  in 
subject-matter  or  the  spirit  of  the  two  poems.  Critics 
almost  scoffing  at  the  possibility  of  so  sentimental  a  savage 
have  raised  the  question  also  of  the  likelihood  of  such 
a  character  as  Tabare.  But  Valera  concludes  his  remarks 
on  the  poem  with  an  ingenious  argument  in  favor  of  its 


probability,  because  he  believes  in  the  all-compelling 
power  of  love. 

The  style  in  which  the  author  has  written  is  described 
by  Valera^  thus.  After  stating  that  Zorrilla  de  San  Martin 
belongs  to  the  school  of  Becquer,  he  says: — "The  new 
thing  in  Juan  Zorrilla  is  that,  although  Tabare  is  a  narra- 
tion, in  part  of  it  he  narrates  and  almost  does  not  narrate. 
The  poem  seems  a  beautiful  series  of  lyrics  in  which  the 
action  gradually  unfolds.  When  the  personages  speak, 
one  remains  in  doubt  whether  it  is  they  speaking  or  the 
poet  in  whose  spirit  are  brightly  reflected  the  feelings  and 
ideas  which  the  personages  have  in  a  vague  manner." 

At  the  time  when  Zorrilla  de  San  Martin  was  beginning 
his  great  poem  Tabare,  occurred  the  dedication  of  a 
monument  to  Uruguayan  independence  in  the  Plaza  de 
la  Florida.  Zorrilla  de  San  Martin  was  called  upon  to  write 
a  poem  befitting  the  occasion.  He  read  his  ode  La  Leyenda 
P atria  which  won  the  greatest  applause  ever  given  to  a 
similar  bit  of  literature  and  which  since  that  day  has 
been  declaimed  till  people  are  tired  of  it.  Somewhat 
classical  in  form  and  slightly  reminiscent  of  Olmedo,  the 
ode  develops  the  poet's  ideas  in  pictures  and  visions  of 
his  country's  history.  He  sees  the  country  prostrate 
under  the  invader,  the  heroism  of  the  Thirty-three,  the 
great  battles  of  Sarandi  and  Ituzaingo  and  the  possibilities 
of  the  future. 

The  publication  of  Tabare  brought  its  author  such  fame 
that  he  was  sent  to  Europe  first  as  envoy  to  the  Holy  See 
and  then  as  minister  to  France  and  Spain.  He  has  pub- 
lished his  impressions  of  travel  in  Resonancias  del  Camino. 
^  J.  Valera,  Cartas  americanasy  2a  serie. 


Lately  he  gave  to  the  world  a  historical  monograph,  La 
Epopeya  de  Artigas,  written  in  poetic  style. 

After  the  passing  of  the  romantic  epoch  the  composi- 
tion of  verse  developed  as  elsewhere  from  Becquer  to 
the  decadent  school.  Luis  Pineyro  del  Campo  began  pub-  >C 
lishing  verses  as  early  as  1875,  but  his  finest  work  ap- 
peared much  later.  El  Ultimo  Gaucho  is  a  long  poem 
descriptive  of  country  life  in  which  the  contrast  between 
the  new  conditions  and  the  old  is  made  artistically  mani-  , 
fest.  The  grandfather  sits  by  as  the  cart  is  being  loaded 
to  depart  for  the  day's  work.  He  had  been  a  soldier  and 
taken  part  in  the  great  events  of  the  past.  To  see  his 
grandsons  engaging  in  such  labor  and  enjoying  the  fruits 
of  peace  makes  him  weep.  After  the  cart  is  gone  he  falls 
into  a  delirium  in  which  he  rehearses  his  deeds,  and  de- 
mands his  horse  and  lance.  As  the  locomotive  on  the 
railway  whistles  and  rumbles  by  the  old  man  dies,  a 
symbol  of  the  primitive  life  fast  yielding  before  the  prog- 
ress of  civilization. 

Rafael  Fragueiro  at  the  time  of  the  publication  of  his 
first  volume  of  poems,  Recuerdos  Fiejos,  1887,  posed  as 
the  poet  of  poets  attempting  to  practice  in  life  the  exag- 
gerations and  artificialities  which  he  put  into  his  verses. 
He  was  the  first  becquerista.  After  a  romantic  marriage 
he  went  to  Buenos  Aires,  where  he  became  a  professor 
and  forgot  the  production  of  verse  for  a  time.  When  he 
began  writing  again  it  was  in  the  prevailing  decadent 

In  Buenos  Aires  lives  another  poet  and  professor  of 
Uruguayan  birth,  Victor  Arreguine.  He  began  rhyming 
in  the  becquerista  manner,  but  his  latest  poems  were  in 



the  style  of  Verlaine.  The  title  of  one  of  the  best,  La  Vejez 
de  Venus,  is  suggestive  of  its  character,  decadent,  artificial, 
polished  and  beautiful. 

More  national  in  character  were  the  poems  of  San- 
tiago Maciel  (bom  1867).  His  first  volume.  Auras  prima- 
veraleSy  1884,  contained  a  notable  poem  on  the  war  be- 
tween Chile  and  Peru.  In  1893,  he  published  El  Flor  del 
Trebol,  a  long  poem  redolent  of  Uruguayan  fields.  The 
first  canto  describes  the  happiness  of  a  country  lass  in 
love.  She  is  rudely  awakened  from  her  dream  by  the 
call  to  arms  which  takes  her  lover  away.  The  second 
canto  recites  various  incidents  that  occurred  during  the 
days  of  his  presence  and  whose  recollection  cheers  her 
in  his  absence.  The  third  canto  opens  with  a  message 
which  she  has  received  from  her  lover.  He  tells  her  that 
a  severe  fight  is  impending  and  that  he  expects  to  die. 
One  afternoon  as  she  is  absorbed  in  melancholy  revery, 
she  catches  sight  of  a  horseman  pursued  by  another. 
The  foremost  is  her  lover,  overtaken  by  his  pursuer  and 
killed  so  that  he  falls  at  her  feet.  A  poem  so  characteristic- 
ally national  as  this  is  pleasant  reading. 

A  prolific  writer  of  verse  in  various  manners  is  Carlos 
Roxlo.  He  is  classed  as  an  eclectic  poet  with  reminis- 
cences of  Becquer  and  Campoamor,  of  De  Musset  and  the 
Mexican  Flores.  This  is  not  surprising  because  he  is  a 
thorough  student  of  literature,  and  in  this  respect  has 
deserved  the  greatest  praise  from  all  those  who  love 
Uruguayan  letters.  His  Historia  critica  de  la  Literatura 
uruguaya  is  a  monumental  work. 

The  only  other  person  who  has  treated  the  same  sub- 
jects is  Francisco  Bauza  whose  essays  Estudios  Literarios, 


were  really  incidental  to  his  main  interest,  the  political 
history  of  Uruguay.  He  wrote  also  a  few  poems  and  was 
noted  as  an  orator. 

The  development  of  the  novel  in  Uruguay  owes  some- 
thing to  Carlos  Maria  Ramirez  (?-i898),  important  in 
the  history  of  his  country  as  a  lawyer,  publicist,  orator 
and  politician.  His  Amores  de  Marta  is  a  romantic  story, 
while  the  unfinished  tale  Los  Palmares  is  redolent  of 
Uruguayan  fields  and  perhaps  set  the  example  for  later 
novelists  who  picked  their  themes  from  national  events. 

Asociated  with  Ramirez,  at  least  in  exile,  was  the  great- 
est of  Uruguayan  novelists,  Eduardo  Acevedo  Diaz. 
Attacking  the  government  in  1875  with  trenchant  pen 
for  its  attitude  toward  the  freedom  of  the  press,  he  was 
arrested  and  banished.  In  his  place  of  refuge,  Buenos 
Aires,  he  produced  his  first  novel,  Brenday  which  remained 
his  own  favorite  and  has  a  wider  appeal  than  his  more 
powerful  nationalistic  tales.  The  general  plan  of  Brenda 
is  romantic  in  type,  but  the  story  abounds  in  realistic 

The  title  is  derived  from  the  name  of  the  heroine  of  the 
novel.  She  is  the  adopted  daughter  of  the  rich  Seiiora 
de  Nerva,  who  desires  that  Brenda  should  become  the 
wife  of  her  physician.  Doctor  Lastener  de  Selis.  But 
Brenda  is  in  love  with  Raul  Henares.  This  gallant  young 
man  had  saved  the  life  of  a  certain  Areba  Linares  who 
thereupon  had  fallen  in  love  with  her  savior.  Conse- 
quently she  assists  the  Senora  de  Nerva  in  her  efforts  to 
marry  Brenda  to  Doctor  De  Selis,  by  disclosing  a  fact  of 
which  she  had  been  an  eyewitness,  namely,  that  Raul 
Henares  was  the  unknown  man  who  during  the  last  civil 


war  had  killed  the  colonel  Pedro  Delfor,  Brenda's  father. 
Even  this  disclosure  has  Httle  effect  on  Brenda's  feelings 
either  toward  her  lover  or  toward  De  Selis  whom  she 
hates  because  he  had  refused  to  attend  professionally  on 
her  dying  mother.  In  spite  of  the  Sefiora  de  Nerva,  the 
lovers  continue  to  communicate  through  the  negro  gar- 
dener Zambique,  whose  faithfulness  unto  death  forms 
one  of  the  most  pathetic  and  interesting  episodes  of  the 
story.  The  great  obstacle  to  the  lovers*  complete  happi- 
ness is  removed  by  the  death  of  the  doctor  in  a  duel  with 
a  friend  of  Raul.  Then  Sefiora  de  Nerva  dies  of  her 
chronic  malady.  And  after  a  year  of  mourning,  Brenda 
and  Raul  are  married. 

Acevedo  Diaz  returned  from  exile  in  time  to  take  part 
in  the  important  affair  in  1886,  known  as  the  revolution 
of  Quebracho.  The  result  being  disastrous  for  his  party 
he  again  took  refuge  in  Buenos  Aires.  His  experiences  of 
campaigning  as  a  rebel  he  applied  in  writing  a  series  of 
semi-historical  novels  dealing  with  the  adventures  of  a 
family  during  the  wars  for  independence  won  at  Sarandi, 
in  1825.  The  first  of  these,  Ismael,  was  published  in  1888, 
followed  by  Nativa  and  then  by  El  Grito  de  Gloria, 

The  shortest  of  these  is  Nativa  which  is  little  more  than 
one  episode  taken  from  the  series  making  up  the  whole 
story.  Nata  and  Dora  are  sisters,  girls  from  the  city 
living  on  the  estancia  of  the  "Three  Ombues."  On  this 
estate  is  a  ruined  house  where  Jose  Maria  Beron,  a  patriot 
officer  wounded  by  the  Portuguese,  has  taken  refuge. 
Being  young  and  a  hero  he  is  very  interesting  to  the  girls. 
He  prefers  Nata,  which  fact  so  oppresses  Dora  that  she 
commits  suicide  by  drowning  herself  in  a  pool.     Shortly 


thereafter  the  Portuguese  approach  so  that  Nata  is 
obHged  to  depart,  leaving  her  wounded  lover  among  the 
troops  who  occupy  the  estancia.  This  young  officer  is  a 
leading  character  in  El  Grito  de  Gloria.  He  meets  death 
heroically  at  the  battle  of  Sarandi  from  where  his  corpse 
is  carried  to  be  interred  beside  Dora. 

The  strength  of  this  trilogy  of  novels  consists  not  only 
in  the  vivid  pictures  of  landscapes  and  manners,  but  also 
in  the  characterization,  wherein  the  author  approaches 
the  contemporary  naturalism  of  Carlos  Reyles.  In  fact 
in  discussing  the  trilogy  one  must  consider  the  personages 
rather  than  the  plots.  Ismael  is  the  personification  of 
the  gaucho  of  the  period  with  his  bravery,  vices,  crimes 
and  prejudices  as  he  contributed  to  the  foundation  of 
Uruguayan  nationality.  Cuaro,  the  Charrua  Indian,  is 
a  type  taken  from  nature.  Another  element  of  this  varie- 
gated society  is  exemplified  by  the  half-breed  girl,  Jacinta, 
who  rides  with  the  soldiers,  furnishing  them  with  female 
companionship,  cooking  their  meals,  fighting  among  them 
like  a  man,  and  dying  a  heroic  death  in  protecting  the 
body  of  Jose  Maria  after  his  fall. 

The  significance  of  Ismael  as  a  work  of  art  is  set  forth 
by  the  eminent  journalist  Alberto  Palomeque,  an  asso- 
ciate of  Acevedo  Diaz  in  his  first  exile.  His  publication 
of  the  review  Vida  Moderna  was  a  real  service  to  Urugua- 
yan letters.  In  the  issue  for  May,  1901,  he  says:  "Ismael 
is  a  hymn  to  blood.  On  every  page  is  breathed  hatred  and 
blood.  The  author  believes  that  in  the  shedding  of  blood 
is  the  law  of  all  human  progress.  In  this  book  is  the  ex- 
planation of  all  our  misfortunes.  A  society  founded  in 
hatred,  in  slaughter,  in  blood,  in  violation  of  the  family, 


in  attacks  on  property,  in  terror  imposed  by  a  vulgar 
caudillo  who  is  master  of  lives  and  estates,  must  continue 
to  suffer."  And  in  similar  vein  concerning  Soledad,  the 
last  novel  by  Acevedo  Diaz,  he  continues.  "Soledad  is 
the  mistress  of  her  father's  murderer.  Thus  from  an 
assassin  springs  the  germ  of  native  society.  Soledad 
will  have  children  by  a  bandit.  On  every  side  blood, 
crimes,  seduction,  children  of  assassins.  Our  nationality 
will  have  for  basis  crime,  vagabondage  and  unstable  abode, 
a  sad  heritage." 

When  the  naturalistic  movement  reached  Uruguay, 
the  example  of  Acevedo  Diaz  directed  attention  to  the 
gaucho  and  country  life  in  general  as  a  source  for  novels 
and  tales.  Manuel  Bernardez,  born  1867,  was  one  of  the 
first  to  publish  excellent  realistic  stories.  Mateo  Mar- 
gariiios  Solsona  wrote  not  only  short  stories  but  prac- 
ticed the  novel.  His  Las  Hermanas  Flammary  appearing 
in  1893  followed  the  methods  of  Zola  almost  to  the  point 
of  direct  imitation.  Through  the  efforts  of  her  mother, 
Elvira  Flammary  is  married  to  Mauricio  Castaigne,  but 
her  older  sister  is  more  attractive.  Margarita's  marriage, 
however,  fails  to  materialize,  so  she  casts  envious  eyes 
upon  her  sister's  complaisant  husband.  Elvira's  illness 
favors  the  denouement,  and  as  the  illness  develops  into  a 
chronic  malady  after  the  mother's  death,  the  household 
settles  down  into  a  three-cornered  affair.  Another  practi- 
tioner of  the  realistic  tale  was  Javier  de  Viana.  His 
gauchos  are  degenerate  sons  and  his  women  vile  creatures. 

The  master  of  these  naturalists  is  undoubtedly  Carlos 
Reyles.  Living  on  a  vast  cattle  ranch  which  he  inherited, 
he  found  time  not  only  to  develop  his  property  scientific- 


ally  but  also  to  imitate  the  literary  methods  of  the  French 
and  Spanish  novelists  whom  he  admired.  Beba,  which 
he  published  in  1894,  marked  a  new  path  in  the  literature 
of  Uruguay.  The  action  of  the  story  begins  at  the  Estancia 
of  El  Embrion.  Its  owner,  Gustavo  Ribera,  is  a  reformer 
in  the  methods  of  agriculture.  So  many  are  his  innova- 
tions, such  as  the  substitution  of  iron  plows  for  the  old 
wooden  ones,  the  use  of  horse  rakes  and  tractor  engines, 
scientific  treatment  of  drying  fodder,  that  his  peons  think 
him  crazy.  He  is  specially  interested  in  classifying  his 
cattle  and  in  improving  the  breed.  Growing  up  on  the 
estate  is  his  dead  sister's  child  Beba.  When  she  arrives 
at  a  marriageable  age  she  marries  Rafael  Benavente,  a 
broker  in  the  city.  Living  there  bores  her  as  much  as 
her  husband's  mode  of  life  for  he  is  indolent,  without 
ambition,  and  given  to  drink  and  the  pursuit  of  pleasure. 
By  and  by  the  couple  visit  the  estancia.  Rafael  to  cure 
his  ennui  keeps  soaked  with  liquor,  but  Beba  rejoices  at 
every  moment  spent  in  the  open.  She  passes  her  time 
with  her  uncle  whose  manly  strength  and  skill  she  admires 
to  the  disadvantage  of  her  husband.  One  day  she  falls 
in  with  an  old  woman  who  tells  her  the  secret  of  her  birth, 
a  love  child.  The  phrase  works  in  her  mind  till  in  a  mo- 
ment of  mad  adoration  she  gives  herself  to  Gustavo. 
The  weak  husband  merely  cries  when  he  hears  the  facts 
from  his  wife's  mouth.  The  lovers  continue  on  the  farm 
for  a  time.  One  day  Gustavo  in  Beba's  presence  angrily 
kills  his  best  stallion  on  account  of  defects  in  his  progeny. 
Soon  thereafter  Rafael  and  Beba  return  to  the  city.  In 
course  of  time  Beba  has  a  child,  but  it  is  still  bom  and  a 
monster.    The  crossing  of  blood  relatives  which  Gustavo 


had  studied  so  scientifically  in  his  cattle  asserts  itself  as 
a  principle  of  human  mating.  Beba,  remembering  the 
scene  with  the  stallion,  feels  that  Gustavo  will  despise 
her.  Consequently  she  winds  a  heavy  work  chain  about 
her  body  and  leaps  into  a  deep  pool  of  water. 

Reyles*  next  production  consisted  of  three  short  stories 
on  the  theme  of  adultery.  Of  these  Primitivo  is  the  most 
striking  in  plot.  In  1910  he  published  La  Raza  de  Cain, 
While  this  novel  mainly  consists  of  a  study  of  the  base 
spirit  of  Cacio,  the  evil  habits  and  manners  of  a  certain 
class  of  wealthy  society  are  cruelly  bared  to  inspection. 
Cacio  is  a  poor  devil  whom  the  rich  Arturo  Crooker  met 
at  Lollege.  There  he  bullied  him  physically  and  domi- 
neered over  him  with  his  money.  Their  relations  continue 
in  business,  and  in  society  on  the  same  footing.  They 
fall  in  love  with  the  same  woman,  Laura.  Arturo  wins 
her.  Cacio  is  like  Cain  always  beaten  by  Abel  and  he 
exclaims,  "The  happiness  of  others  irritates  me."  One 
day  he  slips  poison  into  a  cup  of  milk  given  to  Laura  and 
stolidly  watches  her  die. 

In  the  theater  the  naturalistic  movement  has  been  well 
represented  by  Samuel  Blixen  (i  869-1909)  and  Victor 
Perez  Petit  (bom  1871).  Blixen's  plays  bear  titles  bor- 
rowed from  the  seasons,  Primavera,  Otono,  and  Invierno. 
That  the  names  should  suggest  the  development  which 
takes  place  in  the  characters  of  the  plays  is  plainly  the 
author's  intention.  In  Primavera,  the  widow  Emilia, 
cold  of  heart,  listens  to  the  amorous  solicitation  of  Bona- 
facio  with  increasing  interest  till  she  glows  with  passion. 
Otono  was  the  most  successful  of  the  series.  In  this  play 
Maximo,  fifty  years  of  age,  attempts  to  win  Celeste,  a 


maid  of  forty  of  angelical  character.  She  listens,  hesitates, 
and  finally  consults  her  young  nephew  and  niece  to  whom 
she  is  a  foster  mother.  When  the  latter  begs  her  not  to  go 
away,  Celeste  refuses  the  offer  of  marriage  on  the  ground 
that,  by  accepting  it,  she  would  be  a  bad  mother  to  the 
children  whom  she  has  cared  for  and  taught  to  love  her. 
This  play  pleased  the  same  public  which  laughed  at  In- 
vierno.  The  principal  character  of  the  latter  is  an  old 
man  of  eighty-four  who  wishes  to  marry  his  granddaughter 
to  an  individual  whom  she  dislikes.  He  is  brought  to 
terms  by  his  aged  wife  who  makes  plain  to  him  that  he 
has  lost  the  fortune  which  made  him  proud. 

Victor  Perez  Petit  has  been  a  very  industrious  man 
of  letters  in  several  fields.  He  came  into  notice  through 
his  literary  studies,  one  of  Zola  and  others  published  in  a 
volume  entitled  Los  Modernistas,  1903,  concerning  such 
men  as  Verlaine,  D'Annunzio,  Strindberg,  Nietzsche,  and 
Tolstoi.  Then  he  tried  his  hand  at  realistic  tales  of  which 
Gil  is  the  most  important.  It  is  the  study  of  the  reasser- 
tion  of  atavistic  instincts  in  the  son  of  a  murderer  and 
prostitute.  This  boy  is  picked  up  from  the  gutter  and 
given  a  home  by  a  wealthy  man,  but  the  depravity  in  his 
nature  comes  to  the  surface  at  the  age  of  puberty  when 
he  attacks  and  kills  his  benefactor's  young  wife.  In  1907, 
Perez  Petit  published  a  volume  of  sonnets,  Joyeles  Bar- 
baroSy  written  in  apparent  imitation  of  Leconte  de  LTsle. 
Throughout  the  decade  he  wrote  plays  from  time  to  time 
of  which  he  printed  two  volumes  in  191 2. 

The  plays  show  considerable  variety  in  both  theme  and 
treatment.  Cobarde,  for  example,  is  a  drama  of  national 
manners.     It  concerns  Pedro  who  loves  Natividad,  the 


daughter  of  Gil  Grajales,  a  prosperous  Spanish  immigrant. 
He  wishes  his  daughter  to  marry  RampH,  an  Italian,  be- 
cause, in  his  opinion,  only  foreigners  in  Uruguay  are  men 
in  that  country,  where  the  natives  are  idle  fellows  given  to 
boasting  and  singing  to  the  accompaniment  of  the  guitar. 
Just  before  a  party  Natividad  makes  Pedro  swear  that 
whatever  happens  he  will  not  fight  with  her  father.  When 
Gil  sees  the  despised  Pedro  dancing  with  his  daughter,  he 
interferes  with  a  shower  of  insults.  Pedro  draws  his 
dagger  but  Natividad  calls  on  him  to  keep  his  oath.  Like 
a  coward  he  slinks  away.  His  father  Anastasio,  however, 
takes  up  the  quarrel  and  kills  Gil.  For  a  time  the  assassin 
eludes  the  police.  When  his  whereabouts  become  known 
to  them  through  the  activity  of  Rampli,  Pedro  again 
appears  on  the  scene.  By  fighting  the  police  in  a  mad 
attempt  to  free  his  father,  Pedro  proves,  even  though  he 
dies  in  vain,  that  he  is  no  coward. 

In  other  plays  Perez  Petit  makes  adultery  the  pivot 
about  which  the  action  revolves.  El  Esclavo-Rey,  called 
a  comedy,  depicts  the  degradation  of  a  poor  clerk  who 
not  only  neglects  his  family  but  also  steals  for  his  mis- 
tress. Yorick,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a  tragedy  revealing 
the  mental  tortures  of  a  pair  of  adulterers.  Yorick  is  the 
young  son  of  Adelina  whose  husband,  a  banker,  had  com- 
mitted suicide  after  his  bankruptcy.  She  might  have 
saved  him  the  bankruptcy  had  she  used  her  influence; 
but,  knowing  his  intention  to  shoot  himself,  she  preferred 
to  let  him  die  because  she  was  infatuated  with  a  certain 
Doctor  Lazlo.  Yorick  is  sent  to  Europe  to  complete  his 
education.  On  his  return  he  finds  his  mother  living  in 
Lazlo's  house.    At  first  Yorick  is  not  suspicious  and  even 


makes  love  to  Clara,  the  doctor's  daughter.  Objections 
to  his  love-making  somehow  excite  his  curiosity  about  his 
mother's  position  in  that  house.  Though  he  questions 
her,  he  learns  little  till  he  surprises  her  and  the  doctor  in 
a  compromising  situation.  Then  the  truth  flashes  upon 
him.  Yorick  knows  that  his  father's  life  might  have  been 
saved  had  Lazlo  loaned  him  money.  So  Yorick  deter- 
mines to  revenge  his  father  by  taking  advantage  of  Lazlo's 
great  love  for  Clara.  Unless  the  doctor  will  instantly  go 
out  and  shoot  himself,  Yorick  will  reveal  the  whole  dis- 
graceful story  to  the  daughter.  And  she  is  coming  to  a 
conference  directly.  Lazlo  leaves  Yorick.  Clara  enters. 
While  she  is  inquiring  for  her  father,  a  pistol  shot  rings  out. 
It  is  significant  of  the  power  and  originality  of  Uru- 
guayan literature  that  it  gave  to  the  modernista  move- 
ment not  only  dramatists  like  Perez  Petit  and  a  review  so 
excellent  as  Vida  Moderna,  essentially  national,  however, 
in  their  meaning,  but  also  that  it  produced  a  poet  like 
Julio  Herrera  y  Reissig  and  the  critical  essayist,  Jose  XX 
Enrique  Rodo.  The  poet  rose  so  far  above  his  local  sur- 
roundings that  the  value  of  his  work  was  not  fully  appre- 
ciated until  the  modernista  movement  began  to  be  studied 
as  a  whole.  And  Rodo  is  universally  acknowledged  by 
Spanish  Americans  as  an  intellectual  leader. 



From  the  point  of  view  of  general  education  Chile,  at 
the  close  of  the  revolution,  was  one  of  the  most  backward 
of  the  young  American  republics.  The  question  of  filling 
the  need  for  education  became  a  political  dispute  between 
the  party  of  the  oligarchs,  supported  by  the  clergy,  and 
the  liberals.  The  former  composed  largely  of  the  adher- 
ents of  a  few  wealthy  families  have  up  to  the  present  given 
Chile  a  more  stable  government  than  that  enjoyed  by  xhe 
other  republics;  but  the  liberals  have  from  time  to  time 
been  able  to  obtain  many  concessions.  With  their  efforts 
at  democratization  the  history  of  literature  in  Chile,  no 
less  than  her  political  history,  is  concerned. 

In  1828,  the  liberals  happening  to  be  in  power,  they 
promulgated  a  new  constitution.  At  this  time  there  was  in 
Chile  a  remarkable  Spaniard,  Jose  Joaquin  de  Mora  (1783- 
1864),  whose  adventurous  life  led  him  over  South  America, 
and  whose  Leyendas  Espanolas  later  found  an  imitative 
echo  in  American  literature.  President  Pinto  is  said  to 
have  taken  his  advice  in  preparing  the  liberal  constitution. 
At  any  rate  he  encouraged  Mora,  made  a  citizen  of  the 
republic  by  special  act  of  Congress,  to  attempt  educational 
reform  in  Chile  by  opening  a  school  known  as  the  Liceo 
Nacional  de  Chile.  Mora  also  defended  the  interests  of 
the  liberal  party  by  editing  El  Mercurio  chileno.    He  estab- 


CHILE  197 

lished  a  literary  society,  wrote  poems  and  even  produced 
a  play,  El  Marido  ambicioso,  based  on  French  models. 
But  his  ascendency  was  short  lived,  for  in  1829  the  con- 
servatives returned  to  power  under  the  presidency  of 
Joaquin  Prieto  and  his  prime  minister,  Diego  Portales. 

By  them  Andres  Bello  was  invited  to  Chile  to  serve  as  a 
counterweight  to  Mora.  To  Bello  was  entrusted  the 
editorship  of  the  government  organ  El  Jraucano,  which 
position  Bello  held  for  more  than  twenty  years.  In  this 
journal  he  had  ample  opportunity  to  foster  an  improve- 
ment in  the  literary  taste  of  the  Chilean  public.  To 
Bello's  training  in  education  were  entrusted  the  sons  of  the 
leading  families.  On  the  other  hand,  Mora's  school  was 
closed  by  governmental  action  and  the  man  himself  driven 
from  Chile  in  1831. 

Bello's  school.  El  Colegio  de  Santiago,  was  held  in  his 
own  house.  He  conducted  his  instruction  by  original 
methods,  graphically  described  thus  by  one  of  the  pupils:^ 
"The  study  of  language  was  a  complete  course  on  philol- 
ogy, which  comprised  everything  from  general  grammar 
and  the  history  of  the  Castilian  language  down  to  the 
most  minute  questions  of  Castilian  grammar.  The  pro- 
fessor followed  his  ancient  custom  of  writing  his  texts  as  he 
taught  them.  His  treatise  on  conjugation  and  the  most 
interesting  chapters  of  his  Spanish  grammar  were  dis- 
cussed in  those  long  pleasant  conferences  with  his  pupils. 
He  never  explained,  but  conversed,  beginning  always  by 
expounding  a  question  in  order  to  discourse  on  it  to  his 
pupils.  In  these  conversations  he  was  the  one  who  talked, 
at  the  same  time  almost  always  smoking  a  Havana  cigar. 
1  J.  V.  Lastarria,  Recuerdos  literarios. 


His  lecture  hall  was  his  library  and  all  his  references  to 
authors  were  made  by  the  pupils  under  the  direction  of 
the  master." 

In  this  manner  were  trained  a  body  of  young  men  who 
were  ready  in  1842  to  defend  their  country  in  a  literary 
controversy  against  the  Argentine  journalists  who  had 
taken  refuge  in  Chile.  Fleeing  from  the  tyranny  of  Rosas, 
they  had  brought  with  them  the  spirit  of  the  romantic 
movement  in  literature  taught  them  by  Esteban  Eche- 
verria.  And  they  did  not  hesitate  to  criticise  adversely 
the  state  of  Chilean  literature. 

The  first  opportunity  for  this  was  offered  by  the  publi- 
cation in  1 841  of  Andres  Bello's  poem  El  Incendio  de  la 
Compania.  Inspired  by  the  destruction  by  fire  of  the 
principal  church  left  by  the  Jesuits  in  Santiago,  the  poem 
was  written  in  quintillas  in  the  classical  style  and  may  be 
accounted  one  of  the  most  interesting  of  Bello's  minor 
productions.  The  poet  as  a  spectator  of  the  conflagration 
sees  the  famous  clock  in  the  belfry  destroyed,  and  hears 
its  farewell  to  the  city  to  which  "it  has  counted  a  whole 
century  of  time,  hour  by  hour,"  amid  the  marvellous 
changes  which  have  occurred  during  that  era.  The  sight 
of  the  ruins  causes  him  to  express  his  melancholy  regrets 
almost  in  the  words  of  Jeremiah. 

'^  The  Argentine  D.  F.  Sarmiento  in  reviewing  the  poem 
propounded  the  question,  "Why  are  there  no  poets  in 
Chile?"  He  answered  it  in  a  second  article  when  discuss- 
ing the  foundation  of  a  literary  society  in  May,  1842, 
by  a  number  of  young  Chileans,  mainly  pupils  of  Bello. 
Sarmiento  said  that  the  Chileans  lacked  poetry,  "not 
through  incapacity  but  on  account  of  the  bad  tendency 

CHILE  199 

of  their  studies."  Herein  he  referred  to  Bello's  gram- 
matical teaching,  for  the  latter  had  opposed  a  proposition 
of  Sarmiento*s  that  orthography  should  conform  to  pro- 
nunciation, with  the  statement  that  young  men  should 
study  good  Castilian  models,  so  that  their  language  might 
not  degenerate  as  among  "another  American  people  into 
a  Spanish-Gallic  dialect/*  Sarmiento  met  this  fling  by 
declaring  that  "the  Argentines  had  written  more  verses 
than  the  tears  they  had  shed  over  the  sad  fate  of  their 
country."  Moreover,  "the  influence  of  grammarians, 
respect  for  models,  and  fear  of  breaking  rules"  brought 
about  a  lack  of  spontaneity  of  ideas. 

The  young  Chileans  rallied  to  the  defense  of  Bello's 
methods  by  founding  a  periodical.  El  Semanario  Literario, 
in  which  to  print  their  polemics  and  their  literary  produc- 
tions. The  most  important  contributors  were  Salvador 
Sanfuentes,  Bello's  sons  Francisco  and  Carlos,  and  J.  J. 
Vallejo.  The  topic  of  discussion  was  nominally  roman- 
ticism. The  Argentine  V.  F.  Lopez  published  a  long 
article  about  it  and  Andres  Bello  reviewed  the  romances 
of  the  Duque  de  Rivas.  He  also  printed  translations  of 
two  poems  by  Victor  Hugo,  entitled  in  Spanish  J  Olimpio 
and  Las  Fantasmas;  the  latter  is  the  well-known  poem 
beginning,  "Helas!  que  j'en  ai  vu  mourir  de  jeunes  filles!" 
To  Lopez*  article  Sanfuentes  replied  that  romanticism 
was  not  well  understood  in  Chile;  besides  it  was  going 
out  of  fashion  in  Europe.  In  its  place  he  urged  "faithful 
pictures  of  life."  In  illustration  he  began  the  publication 
of  his  long  poem.  El  Campanario. 

In  the  theater,  a  translation  of  Hugo's  Angela  was  pro- 
duced  as  an   example  of  the    romantic   drama.     Other 


translations  followed.  Then  Carlos  Bello  (1815-54), 
wrote  a  piece  in  two  acts,  Los  Amores  del  Poeta  which 
was  welcomed  with  great  applause.  A  month  later  Rafael 
Minvielle  (1800-87),  P^t  on  the  boards  Ernesto,  which 
was  praised  by  Sarmiento  as  superior  to  the  former. 
Minvielle  also  translated  Hernani  and  Dumas'  Antony. 
Juan  Bello  (1825-60),  likewise  made  translations  of  ro- 
mantic dramas  and  attempted  to  rival  Sanfuentes  in  a 
poetic  legend,  Elena  y  Eduardo, 

Satirical  treatment  of  the  controversy  was  undertaken 
by  Jose  Joaquin  Vallejo  (1809-58),  who  poked  fun  at 
romanticism  by  saying  that  "it  was  the  cheapest  thing 
that  had  come  to  Chile  from  Europe  by  way  of  the  Rio 
de  la  Plata."  And  as  original  productions  under  the  now 
famous  pen  name  of  "Jotabeche,"  he  wrote  sketches  of 
manners  and  customs  in  the  mining  camps  of  Chile.  These 
vivid  pictures  of  the  landscape  and  the  miners,  their 
dances  and  fights,  the  vivacious  record  of  their  conversa- 
tions and  the  satirical  account  of  their  superstitions  form 
one  of  the  classics  of  Chilean  literature. 

In  his  story  of  the  literary  controversy  J.  V.  Lastarria, 
in  his  Recuerdos  Literarios,  is  inclined  to  deny  Andres 
Bello's  leadership,  and  attributes  its  origin  and  bitterness 
to  the  eflPorts  of  the  young  men  to  outshine  the  Argentines 
in  the  drawing  rooms  of  Santiago  by  the  declamation  of 
original  compositions  in  verse,  and  to  the  poetical  con- 
test of  1842,  promoted  by  the  society  of  which  he  was 
president.  La  Sociedad  Literaria. 

Whatever  its  origin  the  best  fruit  of  the  controversy 
was  the  establishment  of  the  University  of  Chile,  of  which 
Andres  Bello  was  installed  as  rector,  September  17th,  1843. 


And  a  month  later  he  brought  to  a  climax  his  part  in  the 
controversy  by  publishing  La  Oracion  por  Todos.  This 
poem  is  not  a  translation  but  an  adaptation  of  Victor 
Hugo's  La  Priere  pour  tons;  "strongly  Castilian"  ac- 
cording to  Menendez  y  Pelayo,  "in  which  Bello  seizes 
the  original  thought  and  develops  it  in  our  language 
in  conformity  with  our  lyrical  habits;  and  he  accom- 
plishes this  in  such  fashion  that  La  Oracion  por  Todos 
is  known  by  everybody  in  America  and  considered  by 
many  as  Bello's  best  poem.  There  is  no  Spaniard 
who  reads  those  melancholy  and  sobbing  strophes  and 
again  looks  at  the  French  text  without  finding  it  very 
inferior."  ^ 

To  the  setting  of  the  poem,  the  landscape  bathed  in 
evening  twilight,  Bello  added  certain  features  essentially 
Spanish,  the  old  tower,  the  isolated  farmhouse  and  the 
church.  On  the  moral  side  he  urges  a  prayer  for  Spanish 
types  of  sinners.  And  while  the  French  poem  is  not 
specific  in  its  invocation  for  the  dead,  Bello  pleads  for 
"My  Lola."  Death  being  an  ever  present  preoccupation 
of  the  Spanish  mind,  Bello  widens  the  scope  of  the  argu- 
ment for  kind  thoughts  toward  the  dead  in  this  wise: 
"I  too  at  no  distant  day  shall  be  a  guest  of  the  dark  house 
and  shall  invoke  the  prayer  of  a  pure  soul." 

After  Bello*s  installation  as  rector  of  the  University  of 
Chile  his  poetical  production  was  slight,  a  few  transla- 
tions, fables  and  verses  for  ladies'  albums.  He  was  oc- 
cupied with  his  professional  labors  and  the  preparation 
of  his  scientific  works  which  served  as  text-books.  The 
names  of  a  few  suffice  to  show  the  wide  variety  of  his 
learning:    Teoria   del   Entendimiento,    1843;   Proyecto   del 


Codigo  civil,  1843;  Principios  de  Derecho  internacionaly 
1844;  Gramdtica  de  la  Lengua  castellana,  1847. 

As  secretary  of  the  University  of  Chile,  was  chosen 
Salvador  Sanfuentes  (1817-60),  in  some  ways  Bello's 
most  distinguished  pupil.  At  the  age  of  sixteen  he  wrote 
an  imitation  in  verse  of  Racine's  Iphigenie,  which  Bello 
printed  in  the  Araucano.  In  1836  he  became  secretary 
to  the  Chilean  legation  in  Peru,  in  1843  general  secretary 
to  the  University.  From  1847  to  1851  he  was  a  member 
of  President  Bulnes'  cabinet,  first  as  minister  of  justice 
and  later  of  state.  As  a  member  of  the  House  of  Deputies 
he  was  considered  brilliant,  while  he  was  also  acknowledged 
to  be  an  able  practitioner  of  law.  In  1853  he  resigned  his 
position  as  secretary  of  the  University,  but  became  its 
dean  in  1856.  Appointed  a  judge  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
1858,  he  held  this  position  until  his  death. 

Throughout  his  political  career,  his  interest  in  poetry 
never  failed.  His  enemies  could  find  nothing  worse  than 
to  call  him  the  author  of  El  Campanario,  which  he  wrote 
at  the  age  of  twenty-four,  in  order  to  demonstrate  so 
valiantly  to  the  carping  Argentines  that  poets  did  exist 
in  Chile.  His  purpose,  moreover,  was  to  prove  the  su- 
periority of  real  pictures  of  life  over  the  fancies  of  roman- 
ticism. The  poem  is  written  in  three  cantos.  The  scene 
is  laid  in  Santiago  about  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth 
century.  A  marquis  proud  of  his  nobility  has  two  chil- 
dren, Cosme  and  Leonor.  To  this  family  is  introduced 
by  the  president  of  Santiago,  Don  Antonio  de  Gonzaga, 
a  young  Captain  Eulogio  to  whom  he  owes  his  life.  But 
the  latter,  being  of  plebeian  birth,  is  not  favored  by  the 
parents  of  Leonor.   As  long  as  the  president  lives,  Eulogio's 

CHILE  203 

suit  for  the  young  lady's  hand  prospers;  but  when  Don 
Antonio  suddenly  dies,  Captain  Eulogio  is  turned  away 
from  the  marquis'  house.  The  young  man,  however, 
persuades  Leonor  to  elope  with  him  during  the  favorable 
opportunity  presented  by  Holy  Week.  Their  marriage 
is  in  progress  in  the  chapel  of  a  neighboring  town  when 
her  father  and  his  slaves  appear  and  interrupt  the  cere- 
mony. Eulogio,  unwilling  to  injure  the  father,  does  not 
defend  himself  from  arrest.  Loaded  with  chains  he  is 
tried  for  abduction  and  banished.  That  night,  however, 
he  escapes  from  prison.  A  few  days  later,  a  letter  con- 
taining four  letters  traced  in  blood,  of  which  only  Leonor 
understands  the  meaning,  is  brought  to  her  together  with 
a  portrait.  She  retires  to  a  convent.  One  moonlight 
night  the  nuns  are  awakened  by  an  unseasonable  ringing 
of  the  bells.  Ascending  the  belfry  they  find  there  hanged 
the  hapless  Leonor.  The  poem  contains  descriptions  of 
ancient  customs,  especially  of  the  royal  court  of  justice, 
the  celebrations  of  Holy  Week,  the  ni^nery  and  the  tak- 
ing of  the  vows  by  the  novice.  The  episodes  possess  a 
real  interest  and  the  whole  poem,  written  in  a  variety  of 
meters,  has  a  fresh  and  animated  style. 

In  1850  Sanfuentes  published  as  a  collection  in  one 
volume,  two  other  legends  and  his  romantic  drama,  Juana 
de  Ndpoles.  The  legend  entitled  El  Bandido,  opens  with 
a  scene  on  a  mountain  where  a  negro  bandit,  Fernando,  a 
man  who  had  sworn  to  avenge  the  wrongs  of  his  race,  is 
feasting  with  his  followers.  With  him  is  Maria  who  had 
yielded  to  Fernando  to  save  her  father's  life  after  she  had 
been  carried  off  from  her  village  just  as  her  wedding  to 
Anselmo  was  being  celebrated.     As  the  feast  progresses, 


the  bandits  perceive  clouds  of  smoke  arising  from  the 
forest,  which  warns  them  of  the  approach  of  a  band  of  pur- 
suers led  by  Anselmo.  When  they  come  up,  the  latter  fights 
with  Fernando,  but  is  severely  wounded  and  defeated. 
Maria,  however,  persuades  Fernando  that  Anselmo  is 
her  brother  and  so  is  allowed  to  nurse  him  back  to  health. 
She  confesses  to  him  her  disgrace,  whereat  Anselmo 
scorns  her.  That  night  coming  to  him,  with  the  statement 
that  she  has  taken  poison,  she  falls  dying  at  his  feet. 
Anselmo  calls  Fernando  and  they  fight.  Anselfho,  how- 
ever, is  again  beaten  and  falls  beside  Maria's  corpse  whose 
hand  he  clasps  in  his  last  moments.  Fernando,  kicking 
their  hands  apart,  leaves  them,  breaks  camp  and  sur- 
renders to  the  authorities,  who  execute  him. 

Superior  to  this  poem  is  Inami  6  la  Laguna  de  Ranco, 
Alberto  has  fled  from  the  Chilean  city  of  Valdivia  because 
he  has  killed  a  superior  in  a  duel.  He  escapes  his  pursuers 
by  taking  refuge  on  an  island  in  the  lake  of  Ranco.  Falling 
in  love  with  Inami,  the  beautiful  daughter  of  the  Indian 
cacique  Colpi,  he  marries  her  and  a  son  is  born  to  them. 
One  night  Alberto  saves  from  the  waters  of  the  lake  an 
old  man,  Alejo,  who  proves  to  be  his  father,  come  in  search 
of  him.  Alejo  is  angry  when  he  learns  that  Alberto  has 
married  Inami  and  demands  that  he  leave  her  and  return 
to  Valdivia.  The  young  man  refuses,  but  in  his  distress  at 
being  obliged  to  choose  between  his  wife  and  his  father, 
exhibits  some  coolness  to  the  former.  Their  suspicions 
aroused,  the  Indians  kill  Alejo.  Beside  his  corpse,  Alberto 
finds  a  dagger  which  he  recognizes  to  be  Colpi's.  The 
Indian  when  confronted  admits  his  guilt;  in  the  ensuing 
fight  Alberto  kills  his  father-in-law  on  the  top  of  a  cliff 


CHILE  205 

whence  he  throws  the  body  into  the  lake.  Alberto  ob- 
tains a  canoe  in  preparation  for  removing  his  father's 
body.  As  he  is  about  to  start,  Inami,  with  her  child, 
appears  at  the  top  of  the  clifF.  Beckoning  to  her  husband, 
she  plunges  into  the  water  to  swim  toward  the  canoe. 
About  to  reach  it,  she  strikes  against  Colpi's  body.  Then 
with  a  cry  of  horror,  she  places  her  child  in  the  canoe, 
turns  back  to  embrace  her  father's  corpse  and  sinks  with 
it  to  her  own  death. 

Sanfuentes  admitted  his  indebtedness  to  that  old  epic 
of  Chilean  history,  Ercilla's  Araucania.  He  succeeded 
fairly  well  in  making  his  Indians  natural  and  in  exhibiting 
their  sentiments  of  hospitality  toward  strangers.  Es- 
pecially interesting,  however,  is  his  description  of  the  city 
of  Valdivia. 

His  drama,  J  nana  de  Ndpoles,  derived  its  story  from 
Sismondi.  Roberto,  king  of  Naples,  had  usurped  the 
throne  from  his  nephew,  Carlos  Huberto,  king  of  Hungary. 
Roberto  determines  to  bring  about  a  reversion  of  the 
throne  by  arranging  a  marriage  between  Andres,  the 
second  son  of  Carlos,  and  his  own  daughter  Juana,  at  the 
time  seven  and  five  years  old  respectively.  Their  parents 
dying  when  he  is  eighteen  and  she  sixteen,  the  young 
couple  are  left  to  adjust  their  differences  and  difficulties 
according  to  their  own  notions.  Juana,  holding  that  a 
papal  bull  had  legitimized  the  usurpation,  wishes  to  in- 
herit her  father's  dominions  while  Andres  asserts  a  supe- 
rior right.  The  dramatist  complicated  their  quarrels  by 
introducing  a  love  affair  between  Juana  and  a  certain 
Luis  de  Tarento  and  thus  made  more  tragic  Andres' 
death  at  the  hands  of  conspirators. 


The  poetic  rendering  of  a  legend  again  occupied  San- 
fuentes*  attention  in  1853.  He  found  the  material  in 
Olivares'  Historia  Militar.  Huentemagu,  an  Araucanian 
Indian,  received  as  his  share  of  the  sack  of  a  nunnery  a 
beautiful  nun.  With  her  he  fell  so  much  in  love  that  she 
was  able  to  persuade  him  not  only  to  respect  her  but  also 
to  restore  her  to  her  fellow  countrymen;  whereupon  he 
followed  her  and  became  a  servant  at  the  nunnery  in 
order  to  be  near  the  object  of  his  adoration. 

Four  years  later  from  the  same  pen  came  Ricardo  y 
Lucia  6  la  Destruccibn  de  la  Imperial,  comprising  17,626 
hendecasyllabic  verses  in  octaves.  This  is  a  tale  of  love 
between  a  Spaniard  and  an  Indian  maid,  thwarted  by 
the  jealousy  of  a  disappointed  lover  who  assists  a  con- 
spiracy to  raid  the  city  of  La  Imperial.  The  actors  all 
perish  in  the  tumult  of  its  destruction.  Somewhat  differ- 
ent in  character  is  Sanfuentes'  last  work  of  which  he  pub- 
lished four  parts  before  his  death.  Teudo  6  Memorias  de 
un  solitario  purports  to  be  the  diary  in  verse  of  the  impres- 
sions of  a  solitary  monk. 

The  poetic  merit  of  Sanfuentes'  compositions  varies 
greatly.  The  later  ones  become  monotonous  from  ex- 
cessive description.  Though  he  lacks  at  times  dramatic 
force  and  psychological  truth,  he  never  fails  in  a  feeling 
for  nature.  He  has  written  more  verses  than  any  other 
Chilean  and  though  the  first  to  sing  the  beauties  of  primi- 
tive nature  in  Chile,  no  other  poet  in  this  respect  has 
equalled  Sanfuentes. 

The  poetic  activity  in  Chile  about  1842  was  not  entirely 
devoid  of  the  classical  note  which  sought  perfection  of 
form.     Even  in  El  Semanario  were  published  poems  of 



that  type  by  Hermogenes  de  Irisarri,  a  Guatemalan, 
whose  father,  Antonio  Jose  de  Irisarri,  a  very  wealthy 
man,  had  played  an  important  part  in  Spanish-American 
affairs  during  the  revolutionary  period.  Another  poet  of 
classical  leanings  was  Jacinto  Chacon,  who  continued  to 
an  advanced  age  to  occupy  high  positions  in  Chilean 
politics.  As  a  leader  the  classical  school  may  have  looked 
to  Felipe  Pardo  who  came  to  Chile  as  Peruvian  envoy  in 

1836.  A  pupil  of  the  celebrated  Sevillan  Alberto  Lista 
and  an  enthusiastic  man  of  letters,  he  wrote  much  and 
even  published  a  periodical.  El  Interprete,  during  hisy 
sojourn  in  Chile. 

In  some  respects  the  most  successful  writer  of  occa- 
sional verse  of  classical  type  during  this  epoch  was  Dona 
Mercedes  Marin  de  Solar  (1804-66).  Being  a  bright 
child  she  was  given  an  excellent  education,  contrary  to 
the  prevailing  notions  about  female  education.  She  even 
knew  French,  which  is  remarkable  for  it  is  on  record  that 
in  1 82 1  a  priest  refused  to  absolve  a  young  woman  be- 
cause she  was  studying  that  language.  Dona  Mercedes 
came  into  public  notice  by  her  Canto  a  la  Muerte  de  don 
Diego  Portales,  printed  by  Bello  in  the  Jraucano,  July, 

1837.  This  composition  of  three  hundred  and  twenty- 
four  lines  was  the  work  of  a  single  night,  and  reflects  as  a 
historical  document  in  verse  the  social  conditions  of  the 
time.  Her  numerous  pieces  concern  mainly  events  in 
family  life  bearing  such  titles  as.  To  my  daughter  Luisa 
on  the  death  of  her  husband;  To  my  daughter  Elena  on 
her  departure  for  North  America;  To  my  daughter  Caro- 
line on  going  to  live  in  the  country.  Recollecting  in  her 
dying  hours  that  she  had  written  no  verses  for  her  youngest 


daughter  Matilda,  she  composed  a  sonnet  remarkable 
under  the  circumstances  for  containing  no  hint  of  death 
or  separation  and  speaking  only  of  the  joy  with  which 
the  daughter  had  blessed  her  mother. 

Owing  to  the  character  of  the  race  poetry  has  been 
more  of  a  forced  product  in  Chile  than  in  some  other 
Spanish-American  countries,  though  versifiers  have  been 
numerous.  The  upper  class  of  this  race  is  composed  of 
Spaniards  largely  of  Basque  origin,  somber  and  practical, 
with  an  element  of  Anglo-Saxon  merchants  and  sailors. 
The  lower  class  differs  from  that  of  other  South-American 
republics  because  their  aboriginal  ancestors,  the  Arau- 
canians,  were  not  submissive  but  warlike  and  difficult 
to  conquer.  Furthermore  there  are  no  Africans  nor 
Asiatics.  The  geography  of  the  land  also  contributes 
to  homogeneity  of  race.  A  narrow  strip  of  coast  walled  on 
the  east  by  a  range  of  lofty  and  almost  inaccessible  moun- 
tains, the  sea  affords  easy  communication  between  its 
parts.  Shipping,  mining,  and  agriculture  in  the  numerous 
valleys  in  a  climate  favorable  to  labor  by  white  men  thus 
become  its  natural  industries. 

The  same  conditions  explain  the  type  of  government 
projected  by  Diego  Portales  and  adopted  in  the  constitu- 
tion of  1833.  This  gave  the  balance  of  power  to  an  oli- 
garchy of  the  landholders  represented  by  senators  whose 
term  of  office  was  nine  years  and  a  president  elected  for 
ten  years.  In  the  struggle  which  preceded  the  victory  of 
the  patrician  conservatives,  they  were  called  "pelucones" 
by  the  liberals  who  in  turn  were  dubbed  "pipiolos." 
The  strong  rule  of  the  "pelucones"  preserved  Chile  from 
the  anarchy  which  held  back  the  progress  of  the  other 


republics.  But  the  descendants  of  the  "pipiolos"  kept 
alive  and  developed  a  liberalism,  as  the  years  passed,  which 
found  an  expression  not  only  in  literature  but  also  in 
arrned  uprisings. 

The  constitution  of  Portales  made  the  church  an  in- 
stitution of  state  because  the  church  stood  for  order 
and  the  defense  of  property;  in  return  the  church  sup- 
ported the  temporal  power  of  the  oligarchy.  Against 
the  union  of  church  and  state  came  the  first  attack  of 
Hberalism,  Francisco  Bilbao's  (1823-65),  Sociahilidad  chi- 
lena,  a  book  of  great  literary  and  social  importance  in 
the  history  of  Chile.  It  was  first  printed  in  the  short- 
lived periodical  El  Crepusculo,  1844.  The  journal  was 
suppressed  and  the  author  was  prosecuted  by  the  eccle- 
siastical authorities,  who  accused  him  of  blasphemy,  im- 
morality and  sedition  because  Bilbao  attributed  the  ex- 
tremely wretched  condition  of  the  working  class  in  Chile 
to  the  domination  of  the  clergy.  The  ecclesiastical  tri- 
bunal found  Bilbao  guilty  and  sentenced  him  to  pay  a 
fine  of  fifteen  hundred  pesos  or  in  default  of  its  payment 
to  serve  six  months  in  prison.  His  friends  promptly 
subscribed  the  money  and  sufficient  additional  funds 
to  allow  him  to  leave  the  country.  In  Sociabilidad  chilena 
a  Chilean  writer,  Isidoro  Errazuriz,  sees  the  outcome  of 
Andres  Bello*s  philosophical  teaching,  not  in  its  substance 
but  as  a  "wild  plant"  that  grew  in  the  intellectual  ground 
prepared  by  his  hand. 

Isidoro  Errazuriz,  by  the  way,  was  a  clever  journalist 
and  a  brilliant  orator  whose  political  activity  extended 
from  i860  to  1890.  As  a  historian  he  published  an  im- 
portant sketch  of  the  political  parties  in  Chile  from  1823 


to  1870  as  an  introduction  to  his  extensive  Historia  de  la 
Administracion  Errdzuriz. 

Francisco  Bilbao  went  by  way  of  Buenos  Aires  to  Paris 
where  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  Michelet  and  Edgar 
Quinet.  The  latter,  after  reading  Bilbao's  book  con- 
gratulated him.  Quinet,  the  philosopher  of  democracy, 
was  then  producing  his  own  works  against  the  influence 
of  Catholicism  in  the  modem  world.  When  Bilbao  re- 
turned to  Chile,  he  established,  on  the  basis  of  Quinet*s 
ideas,  a  liberal  society  with  the  name  of  La  Sociedad  de 
la  Igualdad.    To  it  were  attracted  many  liberal  thinkers. 

One  of  the  most  prominent  was  Eusebio  Lillo  (1826- 
1910).  At  the  age  of  eighteen  he  attracted  attention  by 
winning  a  prize  for  verses  on  Jose  M.  Infante,  a  popular 
hero.  Three  years  later  he  was  honored  by  the  adoption 
of  a  poem  of  his  as  the  national  anthem  of  Chile.  The 
older  one  by  De  Vera  was  displaced  because  its  virulent 
hostility  to  Spain  seemed  antiquated.  In  1848  he  was 
one  of  the  founders  of  the  Revista  de  Santiago^  a  somewhat 
notable  periodical  for  it  united  as  collaborators  under 
the  leadership  of  J.  V.  Lastarria  many  important  men 
of  letters.  To  this  magazine  Lillo's  first  contribution 
was  a  legend.  Loco  de  Amor,  in  two  cantos. 

Lillo  now  became  interested  in  politics,  supporting  the 
ideas  of  Francisco  Bilbao  by  editing  a  journal.  El  Amiga 
del  Pueblo.  And  as  a  rallying  song  for  his  party  he  wrote 
a  Himno  de  la  Igualdad.  Words  led  to  deeds  in  the  liberal 
insurrection  of  1851.  Lillo  took  part  in  the  fighting  in 
the  streets  of  Santiago.  After  this  affair  he  was  banished 
and  took  refuge  in  Peru. 

His  experiences  in  that  country  Lillo  incorporated  in  a 

CHILE  211 

long  poem,  Fragmentos  de  los  Recuerdos  de  un  ProscritOy 
generally  considered  his  best  poem  on  account  of  its  inter- 
esting description  of  Lima.  Lillo's  verses  give  evidence 
of  a  delicate  feeling  for  the  softer  moods  of  nature.  He 
was  fond  of  flowers  and  wrote  so  much  about  them  that 
he  was  called  the  poet  of  the  flowers.  In  a  simple  style 
which  found  imitators  he  sang  the  perfume  of  the  mignon- 
ette and  the  pale  and  drooping  calyx  of  the  flowering 
rush.  Even  in  the  Himno  Nacional  he  remembered  the 
flowers  of  Chile  and  expressed  the  hope  that  the  invader 
might  never  trample  them  down. 

On  reaching  middle  life  Lillo  applied  his  poetic  imagi- 
nation to  the  problems  of  speculative  business.  In  Bolivia 
he  embarked  on  various  enterprises  by  supplying  capital 
to  miners.  As  a  result  he  returned  to  his  native  Chile  a 
wealthy  man  at  the  age  of  fifty-two.  Once  more  in  poli- 
tics he  was  elected  alcalde  of  Santiago.  Under  President 
Balmaceda  of  liberal  tendencies  he  held  various  high 
governmental  oflftces.  And  when  the  latter  committed 
suicide  in  1891,  Lillo  was  the  executor  of  his  will. 

A  poet  of  a  more  purely  romantic  type  than  Lillo  was 
Guillermo  Blest  Gana  (i  829-1 904).  His  poems  and 
sonnets  say  little  of  nature  but  treat  intimately  of  his 
feelings.  The  romantic  pose  of  his  lines  was  not  justified 
by  the  material  circumstances  of  his  life.  Nevertheless 
he  made  Alfred  de  Musset  his  model.  Not  only  did  he 
translate  the  Nuit  de  mat  but  imitated  it  in  twenty-three 
compositions  which  are  grouped  under  the  title  of  Noches 
de  Luna  in  the  edition  of  his  Poesias,  1854.  With  the 
moon  he  converses  about  his  love,  her  beauty  and  her 
deceitfulness.     Being  a  good  reader  he  became  a  parlor 


favorite  with  the  ladies,  who  delighted  to  hear  him  read 
his  verses.  His  later  poems  reflect  with  fascinating 
delicacy  the  spirit  of  Chilean  home  life. 

In  1857,  on  account  of  political  troubles  he  had  to  seek 
asylum  in  Europe.  On  his  return  he  became  a  professor 
of  literature  in  the  University  of  Chile;  then  he  entered 
the  diplomatic  service  of  his  country.  While  minister 
to  Ecuador  he  had  an  opportunity  to  enact  in  real  life 
something  as  dramatic  as  any  of  his  poetic  fancies.  The 
poetess,  Dona  Dolores  Veintemilla  de  Galindo,  slandered 
unjustly  in  her  wifely  honor  by  a  priest,  committed 
suicide  near  her  child's  cradle.  At  her  funeral,  unattended 
by  others  because  it  was  that  of  a  self-murderer,  Guil- 
lermo  Blest  Gana  was  the  only  mourner  and  he  attended  in 
full  diplomatic  dress. 

Beside  the  poems  of  personal  character,  Guillermo 
Blest  Gana's  literary  productions  include  various  poetic 
legends.  El  Bandido,  Las  dos  Mujeres,  La  Flor  de  la  Soledad; 
some  tales  in  prose;  and  two  historical  dramas,  Lorenzo 
Garcia  and  La  Conjuracibn  de  Almagro.  The  magazine, 
La  Revista  del  Pacifico,  which  he  founded  offered  encourage- 
ment to  many  of  the  minor  poets  of  the  day. 

The  following  year,  1859,  was  marked  by  a  revival  of 
literary  interest  in  Chile.  This  crystalized  into  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  society.  El  Circulo  de  los  Amigos  de  las 
Letras,  which  inaugurated  a  poetic  contest  destined  to 
bring  into  notice  a  number  of  young  men.  This  society 
and  contest  was  promoted  by  Jose  Victorino  Lastarria 
(1817-88),  the  former  president  of  the  Sociedad  Literaria 
in  1842.  For  his  activities  of  this  kind  (he  was  also  a  prime 
mover  in  founding  the  Academia  de  Bellas  Letras  in  1873), 


CHILE  213 

and  his  many  journalistic  enterprises,  he  has  been  called 
the  "father  of  literary  development  in  Chile."  The  major 
part  of  his  writings,  such  as  the  somewhat  visionary  Lee 
clones  de  Politica  positiva,  were  political,  but  his  sketches 
and  tales,  partly  autobiographical  of  his  political  career, 
collected  in  the  volume  Antano  y  Hogano,  form  a  classic 
of  Chilean  literature.  No  less  valuable  for  literary  history 
is  his  Recuerdos  Liter arios. 

The  general  tone  of  the  verses  submitted  for  the  con- 
test of  1859  was  that  of  romantic  melancholy  such  as  G. 
Blest  Gana  had  made  popular.  A  protege  of  his,  Martin 
Jose  Lira  (1833-67),  gave  it  an  original  turn  by  drawing 
his  inspiration  from  the  contemplation  of  nature.  His 
adaptation  from  Robert  Bums,  entitled  A  una  Ave  Heriduy 
in  which  the  bird  reproaches  the  man  for  killing  it,  and 
his  translation  of  Longfellow's  Psalm  of  Life  are  character- 
istic of  Lira's  own  productions. 

The  leading  figure  in  poetic  literature  during  the  sixties 
was  Guillermo  Matta  (born  1829).  His  first  work,  Cuentos 
en  verso,  printed  in  1853,  consisted  of  two  long  legends, 
Un  Cuento  endemoniado  and  La  Mujer  misteriosa,  which 
smack  strongly  of  his  models  Espronceda  and  Byron. 
They  are  love  stories  with  digressions  and  apostrophes 
on  whatever  struck  his  fancy,  Greece,  Seville,  Rome,  Byron 
himself.  Their  open  attack  on  the  conventional  religious 
ideas  and  prejudices  shocked  the  Chilean  public  of  the 
day;  but  his  lightness  of  touch  with  a  happy  combination 
of  jest  and  earnest  made  the  poems  attractive. 

His  literary  free-thinking  had  a  logical  consequence 
in  his  adherence  to  a  political  insurrection  in  1857,  on 
account  of  which  he  was  obliged  to  betake  himself  to 


Europe.  In  Madrid  he  made  use  of  the  opportunity  to 
print  his  writings  in  two  volumes.  The  experiences  of 
travel  strengthened  his  philosophical  ideas  and  on  his 
return  to  Chile  he  expounded  them  with  greater  convic- 
tion. In  an  address  on  literature  when  installed  as  pro- 
fessor in  the  University  of  Chile,  1864,  he  touched  on  the 
marvels  of  steam  railways  and  the  electric  telegraph  and 
insisted  that  the  new  poetry  must  take  into  consideration 
such  changes  in  the  state  of  the  world. 

The  most  copious  of  poets,  his  practice  in  this  respect 
made  Matta  the  leader  of  a  new  school  which  praised 
the  love  of  science,  adoration  of  justice,  and  respect  for 
industr}^  The  improvement  shown  in  his  own  literary 
style  gave  evidence  of  his  wide  study  of  the  leading  French, 
English  and  German  poets.  In  fact  the  German  note  is 
his  special  contribution  to  Chilean  poetry. 

Guillermo  Matta*s  brothers,  Francisco  and  Manuel 
Antonio,  were  journalistic  champions  of  the  same  ad- 
vanced ideas.  The  latter  won  for  himself  an  immense 
reputation  in  the  Chilean  congress.  Guillermo  supported 
a  movement  led  by  certain  ladies  for  the  better  education 
of  women.  He  even  assisted  Doiia  Rosario  Orrego  de 
Uribe  to  publish  a  Revista  literaria  for  the  same  purpose. 

Guillermo  Matta's  greatest  popularity  both  at  home 
and  abroad  was  achieved  in  1866.  At  that  time  Spain 
had  seized  the  Chinchon  islands  oflp  the  coast  of  Peru  and 
was  at  war  with  that  country.  At  the  same  time  she 
threatened  an  attack  on  Chile.  Matta  sent  forth  his 
verses  calling  on  all  America  to  rouse  herself  in  common 
defense  against  the  invader  and  they  met  a  response  in 
many  lands. 

CHILE  215 

One  of  the  most  stirring  poems  evoked  by  this  war  was 
written  by  Dona  Rosario  Orrego  de  Uribe  (1834-79), 
A  la  Republica  peruana  con  motivo  de  la  derrota  de  la  Escua- 
dra  espanola  en  Callao.  The  virile  tones  of  this  poem  and 
of  other  patriotic  utterances  are  remarkable.  Her  verses 
on  mother  love,  on  duty  and  to  persons  show  the  influence 
of  Matta.  She  began  writing  for  G.  Blest  Gana's  Revista 
del  Pacifico  and  in  one  of  her  early  poems,  A  mi  hijo  Luis, 
made  certain  prophecies  of  his  future  character  which 
proved  true  when  second  in  command  of  the  famous  Chil- 
ean warship  "  Esmeralda."  It  was  a  strange  coincidence 
that  she  died  at  about  the  very  hour  when  he  was  dis- 
tinguishing himself  for  valor  in  battle. 

For  correctness  of  expression  and  classicism  of  style 
Domingo  Arteaga  Alemparte  (1835-80)  held  first  place 
in  this  decade.  His  best  remembered  poems  are  a  pair 
of  sonnets.  El  Llanto  and  La  Risa,  in  which  he  maintains 
the  paradox  "How  often  to  cry  is  to  be  happy!"  and  an 
ode  Los  Andes  del  Genio.  In  the  latter  the  poet  ad- 
mires the  Andes  mountains  as  they  rear  their  rugged 
outlines  above  the  smiling  valleys;  but  there  is  a  more 
sublime  cordillera,  the  genius  of  man.  Like  the  rivers 
from  the  mountains  its  influence  streams  through  hu- 

The  brothers  Domingo  and  Justo  Arteaga  Alemparte 
were  constantly  associated  in  journalistic  enterprises. 
They  contributed  to  the  literary  activity  of  1859  by  estab- 
lishing La  Semana.  Several  years  later  they  brought  out 
El  Charivari  and  La  Linterna  del  Diahloy  comic  and  satirical 
periodicals.  These  opened  a  new  vein  in  Chilean  journal- 
ism, for  the  serious  and  sober  Chilean  character  has  little 


liking  for  Andalusian  salt  so  typical  of  Peru.  Domingo 
Arteaga  Alemparte  also  won  fame  as  an  orator. 

In  jocose  verse,  burlesque  fables  and  satire,  Manuel 
Blanco  Cuartin  (1822-90)  specially  excelled,  and  his  jour- 
nalistic work  during  a  long  period  was  graced  by  his 
humor.  He  wrote  also  two  fantastic  legends  in  verse, 
Blanca  de  Lerma  and  Mackandal. 

A  companion  in  light  satire  was  Adolfo  Valderrama 
(bom  1834).  But  his  writings  were  not  limited  to  verse 
for  he  wrote  amusing  prose  sketches  afterwards  collected 
in  a  volume  entitled  Despues  de  la  Tarea.  His  serious  work 
was  that  of  a  physician  and  professor  of  medicine  in  the 
University.  And  he  performed  a  service  to  the  history 
of  Chilean  letters  by  preparing  a  Bosquejo  de  la  Poesia 
chilena,  1866. 

The  martial  lyrics  of  Guillermo  Matta,  to  which  refer- 
ence has  been  made,  initiated  a  fashion  of  heroic  verse 
which,  assisted  by  historical  events,  remained  in  vogue 
about  two  decades.  In  dramatic  productions  a  parallel 
movement  occurred.  Matta's  friend  and  admirer,  Luis 
Rodriguez  Velasco  (b.  1838),  the  politician  Carlos  Walker 
Martinez  (i 842-1905),  leader  of  the  conservative  party 
and  diplomat,  the  talented  Jose  Antonio  Soffia  (1843-86), 
were  the  first  to  write  in  the  heroic  style.  Then  the  war 
which  Chile  fought  with  Peru  for  the  possession  of  the 
nitrate  fields  gave  fresh  impetus  to  the  heroic,  and  brought 
into  the  field  Victor  Torres  Area  (1847-83),  Ambrosio 
Montt  (bom  i860),  and  Carlos  Lathrop  (bom  1853). 

In  the  theater  Jose  Antonio  Torres  Arce  (1828-64) 
produced  in  1856  La  Independencia  de  Chile,  one  of  the 
best  Chilean  historical  plays.    Since  the  action  concerned 

CHILE  217 

mainly  the  exploits  of  Manuel  Rodriguez,  a  popular  hero 
of  the  revolution,  the  lines  were  filled  with  tirades  of 
exalted  patriotism.  The  author  wrote  other  plays  and 
was  a  successful  journalist. 

The  revolutionary  hero,  Manuel  Rodriguez,  was  again 
staged  in  1865,  shortly  after  a  statue  of  him  had  been 
erected  in  Santiago.  The  author's,  Carlos  Walker  Mar- 
tinez', patriotic  tirades  were  enthusiastically  received 
and  especially  the  finale  of  his  drama  Manuel  RodrigueZy 
which  consisted  of  an  apostrophe  to  the  national  flag. 
During  the  next  six  years.  Walker  Martinez  wrote  a  series 
of  Romances  americanos  based  on  colonial  and  revolu- 
tionary history.  Though  composed  in  rather  a  prosaic 
style  they  have  been  popular  enough  to  call  for  a  second 

On  the  other  hand,  Luis  Rodriguez  Velasco  used  for 
the  material  of  his  ballads  the  history  of  the  day  and 
followed  closely  the  events  of  the  Spanish-Peruvian  war. 
Written  at  his  post  of  observation  in  Peru  the  poems 
gave  evidence  of  keenness  of  impression.  His  experiences 
also  supplied  him  material  for  a  legend  in  verse  in  six 
cantos,  Amor  en  el  Hospital.  In  1869  he  wrote  a  comedy 
of  manners.  For  Amor  y  por  Dinero,  which  his  contem- 
poraries hailed  as  the  best  produced  by  a  Chilean  author. 
Ten  years  later  when  the  war  between  Chile  and  Peru 
brought  the  victory  of  the  Chilean  warship  Esmeralda 
over  the  Peruvian  ironclad  Huascar,  Rodriguez  Velasco 
again  greeted  his  countrymen  with  a  paean  of  victory. 

The  daily  occurrences  of  this  war  were  celebrated  in 
verse  by  Victor  Torres  Arce.  He  was  known  to  Chileans 
for  his  sensual  bohemian  lyrics,  some  plays  and  a  novel, 


Los  A  mores  de  un  Pije,  which  scandalized  the  public  of 
1872  by  its  narration  of  erotic  adventures. 

But  Juan  Rafael  Allende  (i 850-1905),  wrote  with  greater 
talent  the  same  sort  of  verse  chronicle  of  the  war  in  his 
Poesias  de  "  El  Pequen"  filled  with  patriotism,  amusing 
for  their  witty  sayings,  and  entertaining  by  reason  of 
their  pictures  of  camp  life.  By  order  of  the  secretary  of 
war  thousands  of  copies  were  distributed  to  the  soldiers. 
At  the  same  time  Allende  produced  his  patriotic  plays 
Jose  Romero  and  La  Generala  Buendia.  The  latter's  ex- 
ploits were  being  narrated  in  fiction  by  the  novelist  Ramon 
Pacheco.  Allende,  during  the  decade  of  the  eighties,  was 
a  fertile  writer  for  the  popular  stage,  depicting  many  na- 
tive types.  Among  his  dramatic  sketches  were  many 
bitter  satires  of  the  wealthy  classes. 

The  most  gifted  Chilean  writer  during  the  seventies, 
whose  real  poetic  feeling  and  delicacy  of  expression  place 
him  in  the  front  rank  of  Spanish-American  poets,  was 
Jose  Antonio  Soffia.  Though  his  verses  attracted  atten- 
tion when  he  was  but  twenty  years  of  age,  his  best  work 
was  produced  after  his  appointment  as  ambassador  to 
Colombia  in  1874.  The  cultivated  society  of  Bogota 
was  very  stimulating  to  his  talents.  There  were  written 
his  poetical  romance,  Bolivar  y  San  Martin,  generally 
considered  his  best  poem,  and  the  twelve  cantos  of  the 
epic  Michimaloncoy  awarded  a  gold  medal  at  a  literary 
contest  held  by  the  University  of  Chile,  1877. 

This  poem,  based  on  Ercilla  and  the  early  historians  of 
Chile,  related  in  a  variety  of  meters  the  story  of  Michi- 
malonco,  the  first  Araucanian  cacique  to  rebel  against 
Pedro  de  Valdivia.    The  trouble  began  when  three  Indian 

CHILE  219 

women  murdered  a  Spaniard,  Roque  Sanchez.  His  be- 
loved, Ines  de  Suarez,  led  her  countrymen  to  avenge  his 
death.  But  the  pleasing  parts  of  the  poem  are  the  idyllic 
pictures  of  primitive  life,  the  love  of  the  Indian  maid 
Guajilda  for  Michimalonco,  her  plaintive  "yaravi"  or 
love  song,  their  marriage  by  Christian  rites. 

Soffia's  journey  to  Bogota  by  way  of  the  river  Mag- 
dalena  supplied  him  with  the  theme  and  the  setting  for  a 
pathetic  tale  in  verse,  Las  dos  Hermanas,  about  the 
daughters  of  a  fisherman  who  was  drowned  in  a  vain  at- 
tempt to  save  another  man's  life.  In  this  as  in  all  Soffia's 
poems,  the  description  of  nature  is  unexcelled.  In  Acon- 
cagua he  sympathetically  pictured  the  beauties  of  his 
native  province.  In  Las  dos  Urnas  he  rendered  a  tradi- 
tion about  the  river  Aconcagua  and  the  city  San  Felipe. 
Though  love  of  nature  inspired  so  many  of  his  lines,  love 
for  his  wife  and  love  of  country,  were  also  springs  of  his 
muse.  His  patriotic  apostrophes  to  national  heroes  de- 
lighted his  fellow  Chileans. 

The  eloquence  of  patriotism  was  a  more  specialized 
form  of  the  grandiloquent  verses  on  abstract  themes 
which  were  in  fashion  about  1880.  Ambrosio  Montt  y 
Montt,  for  example,  who  first  wrote  odes  and  sonnets  to 
commemorate  the  naval  victory  at  Iquique,  and  the  valor 
of  the  Chilean  commander  Arturo  Prat,  easily  shifted  to 
compositions  in  praise  of  art  and  the  mission  of  the  poet. 

This  fashion  was  an  echo  of  the  poetic  activity  in 
Buenos  Aires  in  the  late  seventies.  The  later  roman- 
ticists, following  perhaps  the  example  of  Victor  Hugo, 
had  a  theory  that  poetry  should  serve  humanity  by  in- 
spiring it  with  lofty  ideals.    This  school  found  its  noblest 


exponent  in  the  grandiloquence  of  the  Argentine  poet 
Andrade.  In  all  Spanish  America  poets  began  inditing 
odes  to  Humanity,  to  Science,  to  Reason. 

In  Chile,  the  first  prize  for  the  poetic  contest  of  1877 
was  awarded  Pablo  Garriga  (b.  1853)  for  an  ode  Al 
ProgresOy  and  again  in  1878  for  El  Poeta.  He  was  fre- 
quently applauded  for  his  contributions  to  periodicals, 
for  poems  on  such  abstract  topics  and  especially  for  an 
ode,  A  la  Ciencia, 

Pedro  Nolasco  Prendez  (b.  1853)  openly  acknowledged 
his  debt  to  Andrade.  But  he  gave  a  note  of  originality  to 
his  verses  by  the  form  in  which  they  were  conceived, 
calling  them  Silhuetas  when  he  praised  the  heroes  of  duty. 
As  Prendez  was  quite  successful  in  catching  Andrade's 
lofty  tone  and  wrote  mainly  after  the  latter's  death,  his 
admirers  pretended  to  see  in  him  a  reincarnation  of  the 
Argentine  bard. 

Reactionary  against  the  new  philosophies,  and  a  cham- 
pion of  the  old  religious  ideals,  arose  Francisco  A.  Concha 
Castillo  (b.  1855).  The  virtues  of  the  soul,  of  self-sacrifice, 
of  faith,  the  discipline  of  pain,  as  celebrated  in  his  Dolor 
Generator,  were  the  sources  of  inspiration  for  his  graceful 
and  fluid  verses.  A  fantasy,  Apoteosis,  written  in  1878 
on  the  anniversary  of  the  death  of  Cervantes,  attracted 
wide  notice  outside  of  Chile. 

Metaphysical  poetry  gradually  disappeared  before  the 
style  of  writing  brought  into  vogue  by  the  Spanish  poet 
Becquer.  In  1887  a  wealthy  Chilean,  Federico  Varela, 
announced  a  literary  contest  to  cover  a  wide  variety  of 
topics,  in  both  prose  and  verse.  One  prize  was  offered 
for  the  "best  collection  of  poems  of  the  suggestive  or  in- 

CHILE  221 

sinuating  kind  of  which  the  Spanish  poet  Gustavo  Becquer 
is  the  prototype."  The  jury  finally  divided  the  prize  be- 
tween two  collections  which  proved  to  have  been  written 
by  Eduardo  de  la  Barra  (1839-1900). 

He  was  a  veteran  writer,  for  at  the  age  of  twenty  he 
had  won  first  prize  in  the  famous  literary  contest  of  the 
Circulo  de  los  Amigos  de  las  Letras,  in  1859,  by  an  ode 
A  la  Independencia  de  America.  Though  he  contributed 
verses  to  periodicals  for  a  while  thereafter,  he  stopped 
suddenly  in  order  to  devote  his  time  to  politics,  and 
political  writing  such  as  that  contained  in  his  investiga- 
tion entitled  Francisco  Bilbao  ante  la  Sacristia. 

The  Varela  poetic  contest  again  drew  his  attention  to 
the  writing  of  verses,  in  which  he  proved  himself  superior 
not  only  in  the  Becquerist  rima  but  also  in  the  fable  and 
in  a  discussion  of  the  theory  of  Spanish  prosody.  In  1889 
he  published  his  poems  in  two  volumes,  to  which  he  gave 
the  descriptive  names  Poesia  Suhjectiva  and  Poesia  Ob- 
jectiva.  Beside  the  prize-winning  verses  they  contained 
poems  of  passion,  micro-poemas,  and  parodies  of  an  early 
collection  of  poems  by  Ruben  Dario,  Las  Rosas  andinas. 
The  micro-poema  was  so  named  by  De  la  Barra  from  the 
fact  that  it  told  a  tragic  tale  briefly,  even  in  so  few  lines 
as  a  couplet.  In  the  parodies  of  Reubn  Dario  to  which 
De  la  Barra  gave  the  title  Ruben  Rubi,  he  showed  him- 
self a  master  of  the  jocose  verse  so  rare  in  sober  Chile. 
By  this  wide  diversity  of  form,  De  la  Barra  has  proved 
himself  the  most  clever  artificer  of  verse  produced  by 

The  Becquerist  rima  was  practiced  by  others  than 
De  la   Barra,   for  example,   his   disciple   Leonardo   Eliz 


(b.  1861),  whom  he  made  the  legatee  of  his  manuscripts. 
In  1887  Eliz  published  an  interesting  book  useful  to  the 
student  of  literature,  Silhuetas  liricas  y  hiogrdficas.  In 
this  he  appreciated  in  sonnets  many  Chilean  poets  and 
added  in  prose  a  biographical  note  about  each  one. 

Of  the  same  age  was  Narciso  Tondreau  (born  1861), 
whose  Penumbras  was  published  in  1887,  through  the  gen- 
erosity of  friends  enthusiastic  at  the  true  feeling  for  nature 
displayed  in  his  melodious  though  melancholy  verses.  The 
contents  of  the  volume  were  well  characterized  in  a  prefa- 
tory poem  by  Rodriguez  Velasco  who  urged  the  reader  to 
enter  these  "shadows"  without  fear  if  he  possessed  a  love 
of  flowers,  of  leafy  trees  and  the  air  of  the  woods. 

The  literary  revolution  known  as  the  modemista  move- 
ment and  dating  from  the  publication  in  Buenos  Aires  in 
1888  of  Ruben  Dario's  Azul  soon  found  recruits  among  the 
young  Chileans.  Pedro  Antonio  Gonzalez*  volume  Ritmos 
and  Gustavo  Valledor  Sanchez'  Versos  sencillos  initiated 
the  public  into  the  new  style.  Francisco  Contreras  printed 
in  blue  ink  his  Esmaltines,  dedicated  to  the  Princess 
Zafirina  and  won  notoriety  by  Rauly  a  long  narrative  poem 
in  verses  of  twelve  syllables,  showing  the  influence  of 
Baudelaire  and  the  exaggerations  of  the  symbolist  school. 
Contreras  later  went  to  Paris  and  continuing  to  write  was 
thus  the  only  one  of  the  early  group  to  remain  to  the 
present  day  a  producer  of  literature.  Antonio  Borquez 
Solar's  Campo  lirico  offered  flowers  of  poesy  gathered 
"apart  from  the  beaten  path";  his  companions  esteemed 
most  highly  a  joyous  bacchanal  song  Jerez  alegre  and  re- 
printed it  in  their  journal  Pluma  i  Ldpiz. 

When  the  Peruvian  Jose  Santos  Chocano  gave  a  new 

CHILE  223 

direction  to  the  modernista  movement  hy  his  American 
poems  he  opened  a  path  more  congenial  to  the  Chilean 
mind  and  conforming  to  the  tradition  of  Chilean  poetry. 
Consequently  Chocano  called  Diego  Duble  Urrutia  "the 
poet  of  Chile"  when  he  read  the  latter's  volume  Del  Mar  a 
la  Montana,  containing  verses  descriptive  of  the  forests 
and  mines,  and  the  native  types  of  men  and  women  and 
their  customs.  In  the  same  spirit  Manuel  Magallanes 
Moure  in  Matices  painted  the  splendor  of  the  Chilean 
landscape.  Samuel  A.  Lillo  not  only  sang  the  beauties  of 
nature  in  his  Canciones  de  Arauco  but  also  the  wild  life 
of  the  mountains,  the  Indians,  the  hunting  of  the  puma 
and  other  animals;  and  in  Chile  herbico  he  evoked  the 
historic  past  from  the  days  of  Michimalonco  to  the  fight 
of  the  "  Esmeralda." 

The  illustrated  weekly  Pluma  i  Ldpizy  founded  in  De- 
cember, 1900,  is  an  interesting  document  for  the  study  of 
the  modernista  development  in  Chile.  The  young  men  just 
mentioned  who  filled  its  pages  with  their  prose  and  verse 
were  determinedly  enthusiastic  in  their  love  of  art.  To 
aid  and  abet  them  in  their  devotion  they  secured  con- 
tributions from  renowned  modemistas  of  other  countries 
such  as  Ruben  Dario,  Guillermo  Valencia,  and  Fabio 

Other  contributors  and  younger  men  were  Miguel  Luis 
Rocuant  whose  Brumas  showed  the  influence  of  the 
Mexican  Gutierrez  Najera  and  a  pantheistic  turn  of  mind; 
the  even  more  philosophical  Federico  Gonzalez  who  sang 
the  struggle  of  the  soul  for  the  infinite.  Victor  Domingo 
Silva  having  lived  among  the  poor  in  Buenos  Aires  wrote 
in  a  pessimistic  strain  about  the  outcasts  of  society  in  his 


volume  of  verses,  Hacia  did.  But  in  a  long  poem",  El 
Derrotero,  he  imitated  Chocano.  This  poem  narrates  the 
efforts  of  a  young  man  to  get  rich  quickly  in  order  to  marry 
a  wealthy  girl.  He  attempts  to  find  a  mine  of  which  an  old 
Indian  had  told  him  the  location,  but  he  is  lost  on  the 
pampa  and  dies  miserably. 

A  review  of  verse  writing  in  Chile  shows  that  from  the 
time  of  Andres  Bello  and  the  introduction  of  romanticism 
it  has  closely  followed  the  currents  of  European  literature 
without  producing  more  than  a  very  few  poets  of  first  rank 
among  its  numerous  versifiers.  Poetry  may  safely  be 
called  a  cultivated  plant.  On  the  other  the  genius  of  the 
Chilean  character  reveals  itself  spontaneously  in  prose 
forms  of  literature,  especially  historical  writing  and  the 
kindred  novel. 

The  first  novel  published  by  a  Chilean  was  El  Inquisidor 
Mayor  o  Historia  de  unos  Amores,  brought  out  by  Manuel 
Bilbao  in  Lima,  1852.  It  depicts  society  in  that  city 
during  the  eighteenth  century.  Perhaps  the  author  had 
in  mind  his  brother  Francisco's  recent  persecution  when 
he  described  the  evil  fortunes  of  a  young  Frenchman 
brought  before  the  tribunal  of  the  inquisition  and  con- 
demned for  his  opinions.  The  novel  portrays  the  wealthy 
and  pleasure-loving  descendants  of  the  conquistadores 
disturbed  by  the  first  stirrings  of  the  ideas  which  were  to 
have  their  outcome  in  the  revolution.  The  impression 
produced  on  the  public  was  so  great  that  the  book  passed 
through  several  editions.  This  fortune  did  not  fall  to 
the  author's  later  stories  Las  dos  Hermanas  and  El  Pirata 
del  Guaymas. 

Alberto  Blest  Gana  (bom  183 1),  the  next  novelist  in 

CHILE  225 

point  of  time,  is  the  greatest  of  Chilean  writers  of  fiction 
and  in  the  opinion  of  Chileans  the  greatest  of  American 
novelists.  He  aspired  to  be  the  American  Balzac.  In  a 
letter  to  Vicuna  Mackenna,  he  wrote:  "One  day  reading 
Balzac  I  made  an  auto  de  fe  in  my  fireplace  condemning 
to  the  flames  my  youthful  rhymes.  (He  had  published  a 
few  narrative  poems.)  I  swore  to  be  a  novelist  or  abandon 
the  field  of  literature.  The  secret  of  my  persistence  is  that 
I  write  not  from  a  desire  for  glory  but  from  a  necessity 
of  soul." 

His  first  stories  published  in  1858  were  Enganos  y 
DesenganoSy  El  Primer  Amor,  La  Fascinacibn  and  Juan 
de  Aria  which  immediately  attracted  attention  for  the 
quality  of  keen  observation  which  the  author  displayed. 
Moreover,  they  aroused  such  general  interest  that  the 
University  of  Chile  proposed  in  i860  for  its  annual  literary 
contest,  usually  limited  to  serious  historical  or  critical 
topics,  "a  novel  in  prose,  historical  or  of  manners,  the 
theme  of  which  should  be  purely  Chilean."  The  prize  was 
awarded  to  Blest  Gana's  La  Aritmhica  en  el  Amor.  The 
title  is  descriptive  of  the  morals  of  its  chief  character  who 
uses  any  means  to  attain  wealth  and  power.  His  selfish 
conduct  is  contrasted  with  the  self-sacrifice  of  his  be- 
trothed whom  he  abandons.  Blest  Gana's  next  novel,  El 
Pago  de  las  Deudas,  entered  still  more  deeply  into  criticism 
of  contemporary  society.  And  in  Martin  Rivas,  published 
1862,  he  produced  his  masterpiece. 

The  action  of  this  novel  takes  place  in  Santiago  about 
the  year  1850.  Martin  Rivas  is  a  young  man  from  the 
country  who  is  taken  into  the  family  of  a  very  rich  man, 
Damaso  Encina,  who  acquired  from  Martin's  father  the 


mine  which  is  the  source  of  Encina's  wealth.  The  novel 
is  a  satire  on  the  manners  of  newly  rich  people  and  the 
vices  of  a  lower  class  who  ape  the  rich.  In  the  Encina 
family  are  two  children,  a  son  Augustine,  and  a  daughter 
Leonor.  The  son  has  just  returned  from  Paris,  wherefore 
he  interlards  his  conversation  with  French  words  and 
fashions  his  conduct  after  a  model  learned  in  France.  He 
has  a  love  affair  with  Adelaide,  a  daughter  of  the  lower 
classes.  Her  vicious  and  lazy  brother,  Amador,  forces 
Augustine  to  marry  her  by  coming  with  a  priest  and  sur- 
prising him  at  night  in  her  company.  Martin  saves 
Augustine  from  this  disgrace  by  proving  that  the  man  who 
performed  the  marriage  ceremony  was  not  a  priest  but  a 
disguised  friend  of  Amador.  Martin  becoming  interested 
in  politics  takes  part  in  the  uprising  of  1 85 1 .  He  is  arrested 
and  condemned  but  escapes  death  because  Adelaide's 
noble-minded  sister,  Edelmira,  consents  to  marry  a  police 
official  in  order  to  save  Martin's  life.  Martin  and  Leonor 
had  been  interested  in  each  other  from  the  first  moment 
of  their  acquaintance  but  her  pride  had  forbidden  her  from 
accepting  his  attentions.  At  last  before  Martin's  clever- 
ness and  ability  her  pride  yields  and  they  marry. 

The  scenes  and  incidents  of  Martin  Rivas,  in  spite  of  its 
man)^  pages,  are  so  many  and  so  varied "tHat^tlie^ory 
inoves^  rapidly.  The  types  oLcharacter,  according  to  the 
Chilean  critics,  are  true  to  iife.:  the  rich  parvenue  who 
feeds  her  lapdog  at  table;  the  matron  of  lower  class  who 
is  ambitious  to  marry  her  daughter  to  the  scion  of  wealth; 
the  worthless  and  dissipated  Amador,  a  "siutico,"  as  the 
Chileans  name  the  type;  the  politicians,  "real  beings,"  says 
Barros  Arana,  "whom  we  all  know." 

CHILE  227 

A  different  type  formed  the  subject  of  El  Ideal  de  un 
Calaverdy  published  1863.  Abelardo  Mannquez  is  a  mod- 
em son  of  a  Spanish  conquistador,  a  seeker  after  adventure 
either  in  love  or  war,  handsome,  brave,  quarrelsome, 
ardent.  His  fate  finally  leads  him  into  a  conspiracy 
which  ends  in  his  execution  by  a  shooting  party.  Just 
before  the  fatal  discharge,  he  voices  his  ideal  with  the 
words:  — "Adios,  love!  only  ambition  of  my  soul!" 

With  this  novel  closed  the  first  period  of  Blest  Gana's 
activity.  He  was  sent  abroad  in  the  diplomatic  service 
of  his  country  and  lived  almost  continuously  in  Europe. 
After  thirty  years  he  again  essayed  the  writing  of  novels. 
In  1897  he  published  a  historical  novel.  Durante  la  Re- 
conquista.  The  title  refers  to  the  two  years  following  the 
disaster  of  Rancagua,  18 14,  when  the  Spanish  army  had 
temporarily  suppressed  the  revolution  and  the  forces  of 
San  Martin  were  drilling  beyond  the  Andes  for  the  ul- 
timate victory.  The  author  portrays  the  many  leaders  in 
the  guerilla  warfare  which  filled  these  years  and  de- 
scribes the  customs  and  social  diversions  of  the  epoch. 

In  1905  Blest  Gana  made  a  study  of  a  South  American 
family  as  a  type  of  those  who  endeavor  to  use  wealth  as  a 
means  for  breaking  into  aristocratic  European  society. 
Los  Trasplantados  is  a  severe  satire  of  every  member  of 
the  family  Canalejas  and  their  associates  from  their  rage 
for  spending  money  to  their  peculiar  jargon,  half  French, 
half  Spanish;  from  the  married  daughters'  disgust  at  the 
grandmother,  who  clings  to  her  mantilla  at  church  to  the 
exclusion  from  their  society  of  other  Americans  except 
a  rich  bachelor  uncle,  whose  worn  and  unfashionable 
clothes  they  tolerate,  because   they  hope  to  inherit  his 


property.  The  youngest  child  Mercedes  is  compelled 
to  marry  a  Prince  Roespinbruck,  but  she  commits  suicide 
on  learning  that  her  husband  has  taken  along  his  mistress 
on  the  wedding  journey.  Even  this  tragedy  fails  to  move 
the  family  from  their  frivolity. 

In  1 910  the  octogenarian  novelist  put  the  scenes  of 
his  novel  of  that  year,  El  Loco  Estero,  again  in  Chile.  As 
in  his  first  work  his  latest  displays  the  same  keenness  of 
observation  and  vigor  of  characterization. 

The  novels  of  Blest  Gana's  early  period  aroused  a  de- 
sire in  Chile,  for  novel  reading.  The  eflForts  of  the  peri- 
odicals to  satisfy  it  so  stimulated  original  composition 
that  mention  can  be  made  here  only  of  the  most  important 
productions.  Imitation  of  Blest  Gana  resulted  in  what 
may  be  termed  his  school;  but  his  imitators,  led  on  by  the 
necessity  of  filling  space  in  the  daily  paper,  often  spun 
out  exaggerated  and  improbable  adventures.  The  custom 
of  selling  novels  in  parts  resulted  in  similar  prolixity. 
While  the  study  of  contemporary  life  was  frequently 
animated  by  a  doctrinaire  purpose,  the  search  for  sen- 
sation turned  to  notorious  crimes  or  the  horrors  of  the 
past.  The  model  of  the  latter  seemed  to  be  the  Spaniard 
Fernandez  y  Gonzalez. 

The  most  readable  novelist  among  Blest  Gana's  im- 
mediate following  was  Martin  Palma  (1821-84).  A  trip 
to  California  at  the  time  of  the  gold  fever  of  1849  gave 
him  a  wider  outlook  on  life.  After  his  return  to  Chile 
he  edited  a  paper  and  wrote  many  tracts  on  social  ques- 
tions, which  gave  him  a  reputation  as  a  free  thinker. 
In  1869  he  published  his  first  novel,  Los  Secretos  del  Pueblo, 
The  success  which  greeted  it,  helped  on  by  the  hostility 

CHILE  229 

of  a  few,  induced  the  author  to  extend  the  length  of  the 
novel  to  fifty  parts,  afterwards  published  as  a  whole  in 
four  volumes.  The  introduction  frankly  states: — "We 
have  had  in  mind  the  improvement  of  the  people.  Our 
customs  are  examined  attempting  to  improve  them,  our 
vices  to  correct  them,  our  virtues  to  enhance  them,  at 
the  same  time  tilting  full  against  our  prejudices,  against 
our  social  and  political  errors,  against  our  bad  habits 
for  the  sake  of  exalting  the  dignity  and  independence  of 

In  spite  of  the  doctrinairism  there  is  little  declamation, 
for  the  lesson  is  inculcated  by  striking  pictures  of  vice 
and  its  evils.  The  plan  of  the  novel  resembles  that  of 
Martin  Rivas.  The  adventures  of  two  wealthy  families 
are  contrasted  with  those  of  an  honest  artisan.  The 
wealthy  hesitate  at  no  crimes  either  to  increase  their 
riches  or  to  procure  their  pleasure,  while  the  poor  perform 
the  most  extraordinary  deeds  of  virtue  or  courage.  The 
wealthy  young  libertine  Guillermo  pursues  the  sister  of 
the  carpenter  Enrique  Lopez  to  her  ruin;  in  revenge  her 
father  and  Enrique  get  bodily  possession  of  Guillermo 
and  brand  him  with  a  red  hot  iron  on  the  shoulder.  The 
rich  Luisa  falls  in  love  with  the  sterling  qualities  of  En- 
rique, but  her  family  force  her  to  marry  Guillermo  because 
he  threatens  to  divulge  his  knowledge  of  the  skeleton  in 
the  family  closet.  Guillermo  finally  dies  in  a  drunken 
orgy  when  the  vapor  of  the  alcohol  rising  from  the  spilled 
brandy  explodes,  setting  fire  to  the  house.  Luisa  is  thus 
free  to  marry  Enrique. 

Palma  later  brought  out  a  sequel  to  this  story  in  La 
Felicidad  del  Matrimonioy   1870.     His  anti-clerical  tend- 


encies  were  given  full  play  in  Los  Misterios  del  Confesion- 
arioy  1874,  of  which  an  English  translation  was  printed 
in  London  in  three  volumes  under  the  title  of  Julia  In- 
grand — A  Tale  of  the  Confessional.  These  two  themes  of 
Palma  indicate  the  direction  taken  by  a  small  army  of 
novelists  engendered  by  the  success  of  his  work. 

Of  the  novels  professing  a  moral  purpose  Un  Drama 
Intimo  by  Moises  Vargas  possesses  a  certain  interest  by 
reason  of  the  portrait  of  its  heroine,  Eugenia,  shamefully 
deceived  by  the  libertine  Alberto.  He  falls  in  love  with 
Amelia  Reynal  and  wishes  to  marry  her,  but  her  father 
learns  from  Eugenia's  own  lips  the  story  of  Alberto's 
villainy  and  repeats  it  to  his  daughter.  New  lovers 
appear  on  the  scene,  Eduardo  for  Amelia  and  Ricardo 
for  Eugenia.  Eugenia  dies  and  Ricardo  kills  Alberto  in  a 
duel.  The  other  couple  marry  and  live  happily.  The 
local  color  of  this  novel  places  it  relatively  high  in  its 

Among  the  most  successful  of  Palma's  rivals  was  Liborio 
E.  Brieba.  The  original  note  of  his  very  voluminous 
work  consisted  in  the  setting  of  his  novels.  ...  He 
selected  the  early  history  of  the  revolutionary  period  for 
his  dramatic  narratives.  One  of  these,  Los  Talaveras: 
novela  historica  (1814.-1^),  has  been  several  times  reprinted. 
The  period  is  the  same  as  that , chosen  later  by  Blest 
Gana  for  his  Durante  la  Reconquista.  Brieba  also  essayed 
the  fantastic  tale  as  well  as  the  exploitation  of  crime. 

In  the  latter  he  was  excelled  in  the  next  decade  by 
Francisco  Ulloa  whose  Astucias  de  Pancho  Falcato  has 
passed  through  five  editions  in  Chile  besides  the  reprints 
made  of  it  in  Buenos  Aires  and  Barcelona.     It  is  merely 

CHILE  231 

one  manifestation  of  the  bandit  literature  common  to 
all  Spanish-American  countries. 

The  historical  novel  found  many  admirers  and  pro- 
ducers. Ramon  Pacheco  began  to  write  in  1875,  and 
brought  out  several  novels  before  the  Peruvian  war. 
That  opened  a  new  field  of  which  he  took  full  advantage. 
The  most  important  of  his  early  work  was  El  Subterrdneo 
de  los  Jesuitas,  1878,  in  two  volumes  of  more  than  seven 
hundred  pages  each.  The  scandal  implied  by  the  title 
preserved  enough  interest  in  the  story  to  warrant  another 
edition  in  1899.  Of  the  novels  dealing  with  the  Peruvian 
war,  La  Chilena  Martir  exploits  an  episode  which  oc- 
curred just  prior  to  hostilities  while  La  Generala  Buendia 
fills  two  volumes  with  her  heroic  and  patriotic  adventures. 

The  masterpiece  of  Chilean  historical  fiction  is  undoubt- 
edly Pipiolos  y  Pelucones,  by  Daniel  Barros  Grez  (born 
1839).  This  is  a  carefully  planned  reproduction  in  the 
manner  of  Walter  Scott  of  the  period  of  the  supremacy  of 
Portales  and  the  struggles  between  the  parties  whose 
popular  names  furnish  the  title.  The  characters  more- 
over are  well  developed  and  interesting.  Barros  Grez' 
next  novel,  El  HuerfanOy  published  1881,  though  a  series 
of  adventures  in  the  style  of  Don  Quixote,  extended 
through  six  volumes,  has  been  termed  a  "photograph  of 
the  Chilean  people  in  their  infancy.'*  While  the  adoption 
of  the  picaresque  form  allowed  the  author  to  penetrate 
all  classes  of  society  and  portray  all  kinds  of  character, 
his  use  of  an  antiquated  language  imitating  Cervantes  has 
not  proved  so  pleasing.  The  main  action  of  the  novel 
concerns  a  young  man  of  obscure  birth  but  of  brilliant 
talents,   who,    by    overcoming    a    thousand    difficulties, 


achieves  a  fine  social  position  and  finally  marries  a  dis- 
tinguished lady.  Marriage  with  her  had  been  coveted 
by  an  old  man,  very  influential  because  of  his  intimacy 
with  Portales.  The  scoundrel  being  unable  to  win  Julia 
by  fair  means  hires  some  bandits  to  carry  her  off.  The 
story  of  this  attempt  and  its  frustration  by  the  astuteness 
of  Julia's  father  forms  one  of  the  most  dramatic  episodes 
of  the  book.  Imitation  of  Cervantes  carried  Barros  Grez 
still  farther.  In  his  last  very  popular  book  he  strung 
together  a  series  of  adventures  in  the  city  of  Santiago  as 
the  observations  of  his  dog,  published  1898,  with  the 
title  of  Primeras  aventuras  del  maravilloso  perro  Cuatro 
Remos  en  Santiago.  Barros  Grez'  talents  for  observation 
and  satire  were  also  applied  to  the  production  of  sketches 
for  the  popular  stage  and  a  historical  play,  El  Tejedor 
0  La  Batalla  de  Maipu. 

The  application  of  naturalistic  principles  in  novel 
writing,  a  more  exact  description  of  physical  details  and 
a  more  careful  psychological  analysis  was  first  made  in 
Chile  by  Vicente  Grez  (i  843-1 909).  The  same  ability 
at  characterization  which  he  displayed  in  Emilia  Reynalsy 
1883,  and  in  La  Dote  de  una  Joven^  1884,  was  shown  in  a 
superior  degree  in  Marianita,  1885.  This  is  a  tragedy 
caused  by  the  activity  of  match-making  relatives.  Mari- 
anita  is  a  simple  motherless  country  girl  who  lives  with 
her  father  by  the  seashore.  A  handsome  young  naval 
officer,  Camilo,  on  a  vacation,  falls  in  love  with  her  but 
his  relatives  prevent  his  plans  for  marriage.  Besides, 
an  ambitious  neighbor,  Dona  Carmela,  desires  that  her 
son  Sergio  should  marry  Marianita.  After  an  absence 
of  two  years,  during  which  Camilo  had  both  married  and 

CHILE  233 

been  left  a  widower,  and  Marianita  had  been  betrothed 
to  Sergio,  Camilo  returns  to  the  village  by  the  sea.  The 
old  love  between  him  and  Marianita  revives  and  quickens 
into  passion.  After  a  time  tiring  of  his  relations  with  her, 
Camilo  one  night  fails  to  keep  an  appointment,  and  when 
she  seeks  him  out  on  the  beach,  searching  for  a  pretext 
to  break  with  her,  he  calls  attention  to  her  engagement 
ring.  As  proof  of  her  attachment  to  Camilo,  she  promptly 
throws  Sergio's  ring  into  the  sea.  But  even  such  devotion 
does  not  prevent  Camilo  from  hearkening  to  his  aunt's 
plans  for  a  marriage  between  him  and  a  rich  heiress.  When 
Camilo  leaves  the  village,  Marianita,  filled  with  despair, 
attempts  to  drown  herself  but  is  saved  by  a  fisherman. 
Her  father  in  his  perplexity  at  her  conduct  calls  on  Sergio 
for  assistance.  When  Marianita  witnesses  the  young 
man's  real  grief  on  learning  her  fault,  she  rushes  from  his 
presence  crying  that  she  is  going  in  search  of  her  engage^ 
ment  ring.  Though  Sergio  pursues  her,  he  is  able  to  bring 
back  from  the  waves  only  her  lifeless  body. 

Grez*  next  novel,  El  Ideal  de  una  Esposa,  1887,  was 
greeted  with  enthusiasm  in  Chile  by  critics  who  believed 
that  he  had  produced  a  work  of  art  worthy  of  Zola.  Faus- 
tina, wife  of  Enrique  and  mother  of  a  sickly  son,  notices 
a  certain  neglect  on  the  part  of  her  husband.  Moved  by 
suspicion  she  hunts  him  down  one  night  when  he  is  spend- 
ing his  time  drinking  with  women  of  loose  character. 
Thereafter  she  lives  only  for  her  son.  Her  love  for  him 
keeps  her  from  falling  into  the  snare  laid  for  her  by  a 
doctor.  When  the  son  dies  his  parents  are  reconciled 
beside  his  dead  body. 

Vicente  Grez  was  not  only  a  novelist  but   a  literary 


worker  in  many  fields.  .  As  a  journalist  he  contributed 
widely  to  the  periodicals  of  his  day.  In  this  line  he  won 
fame  as  an  art  critic.  His  volume  of  Becquerist  verses, 
Rdfagasy  published  in  1882,  found  favor  with  many.  He 
essayed  also  the  writing  of  popular  history,  and  for  an 
animated  account  of  the  famous  victory  of  the  Chilean 
warship  "  Esmeralda  "  was  generally  known  as  the  author 
of  El  Comhate  Homerico. 

A  number  of  minor  novelists  were  contemporary  with 
the  foregoing.  Valentin  Murillo  began  to  write  as  early 
as  1863,  and  continued  to  produce  at  intervals  for  twenty- 
five  years.  His  most  noteworthy  novel  was  Una  Victima 
del  Honor,  1871,  an  attack  on  the  death  penalty  based  on 
circumstantial  evidence.  Another  novelist  who  had  ad- 
mirers was  Enrique  Montt,  author  of  two  studies  of  fe- 
male character,  Mujer  y  Angely  a.  tale  of  seduction,  and 
Laura  Duverne,  1883.  Of  greater  value  in  realistic  de- 
scription were  the  tales  of  Pedro  Nolasco  Cruz,  especially 
one  entitled  Esteban  and  his  picture  of  country  life,  Flor 
de  Campo,  1887. 

Alejandro  Silva  de  la  Fuente  promised  greater  achieve^ 
ment  by  his  Ventura,  1885,  and  Penas  que  matan,  1887. 
In  Ventura  he  followed  rather  Spanish  or  English  models 
than  French  by  relying  for  interest,  not  so  much  on  a  com- 
plicated intrigue  as  on  observation  of  manners  and  psy- 
chological analysis.  Ventura  is  a  young  man,  who  comes 
to  Santiago  from  a  small  village  where  he  is  a  leader. 
Ambitious  to  rise  he  enters  politics,  and  forgetful  of  his 
village  sweetheart,  Margarita,  he  courts  a  rich  heiress  for 
the  purpose  of  using  her  money  to  further  his  plans.  He 
fails  utterly  in  his  courtship  and  his  politics.     He  falls 

CHILE  235 

sick  and,  ashamed  to  return  home,  plans  to  commit 
suicide.  But  Margarita  and  her  mother  who  have  been 
informed  of  his  illness  come  to  Santiago.  They  take  the 
disillusioned  youth  back  to  his  country  home  where  he 
marries  Margarita. 

In  Penas  que  matan,  Silva  de  la  Fuente  again  studied 
the  character  of  a  young  man.  Fernando  in  love  with 
Berta  is  compelled  to  witness  her  marriage  to  an  old  man. 
For  pique  he  straightway  allies  himself  with  Angela 
Rosales.  When,  after  their  marriage,  they  pay  a  cere- 
monious visit  on  Berta  and  her  husband,  love  reawakens, 
so  that  presently  Fernando  stops  one  day  at  Berta's 
house,  determined  to  declare  his  passion.  The  conse- 
quent excitement  brings  on  a  severe  attack  of  his  chronic 
ailment  of  the  heart.  As  he  falls  completely  unconscious, 
it  is  necessary  for  Berta  to  call  for  assistance.  After  this 
revelation  of  his  soul  to  all  the  world,  Fernando  at  the 
end  of  a  week's  suffering  is  graciously  removed  by  death. 

The  influence  of  President  Balmaceda  on  the  constitu- 
tutional  history  of  Chile  also  found  an  echo  among  the 
novelists.  During  a  period  of  ferment,  Balmaceda  had 
effected  many  changes,  even  conferring  on  the  Congress 
powers  which  the  old  constitution  had  granted  only  to 
the  president.  When,  however,  a  dispute  with  the  Con- 
gress arose  he  was  unwilling  to  yield  the  old  prerogatives. 
An  uprising  began  in  1891  which  he  was  unable  to  sup- 
press. Finding  himself  thus  in  a  position  without  a  way 
of  escape  except  by  flight  or  death  he  chose  the  latter. 

The  anticlerical  agitation  of  Balmaceda's  time  found  a 
supporter  in  fiction,  1889,  in  Borja  Orihuela  Grez'  El  Cura 
Civil.     The  scene  is  laid  in  a  provincial  city  whose  in- 


habitants  side  with  the  old  priest  when  the  new  func- 
tionary arrives  to  supplant  the  priest  in  his  duties  of 
conducting  the  register  of  vital  statistics.  The  provision 
of  the  law  establishing  a  civil  register  which  especially- 
aroused  the  priest's  ire  was  that  permitting  the  official 
to  perform  civil  marriage.  Hence  arose  the  nickname  of 
"cura  civil."  One  old  inhabitant  in  grim  humor  even 
sent  to  get  "the  blessing  of  the  government  upon  their 
union  "  a  pair —  of  chickens.  The  young  official,  however, 
is  both  wealthy  and  discreet.  As  a  result  of  his  conduct 
he  finally  wins  the  esteem  of  town  and  its  prettiest  girl. 

Of  different  type  was  an  explanation  of  Balmaceda's 
failure  pubHshed  in  the  form  of  a  novel,  1 897,  Los  ultimos 
Proyectos  de  Eduardo  Castro  by  Rene  Brickies.  The  book 
aroused  much  discussion  because  the  author  attributed 
the  failure  to  the  bad  character  of  the  soldiers  who  sup- 
ported the  president.  Brickies  drew  a  long  and  amusing 
series  of  caricatures  with  considerable  realistic  power. 

Balmaceda's  constitutional  changes  threw  the  govern- 
ing power  into  the  hands  of  the  plutocrats  who  had  been 
increasing  greatly  in  numbers.  In  fact,  a  rapid  increase 
of  wealth  in  Chile  during  the  last  quarter  of  the  century 
is  an  economic  fact  to  be  borne  in  mind.  It  appears  in 
fiction  at  the  end  of  the  last  decade  of  the  century. 

Emilio  Rodriguez  Mendoza  published  in  1899  a  short 
novel,  Ultima  Esperanza.  The  idea  of  the  author  was  to 
show  the  evils  brought  into  the  country  by  bad  French 
novels.  The  Spanish  critic,  Juan  Valera,  in  reviewing 
the  book  declared  that  Rodriguez  Mendoza  had  merely 
imitated  them,  that  his  story  might  have  taken  place 
in  Paris  as  well  as  in  Chile.    In  Vida  Nuevay  1902,  however, 

CHILE  237 

Rodriguez  Mendoza  introduced  more  local  color.  Then 
Miguel  de  Unamuno  inquired  "why  in  these  new  countries 
do  they  insist  on  depicting  everything  to  us  so  corrupt?" 
Rodriguez  Mendoza  replied  that  he  had  described  a 
genuine  phase  of  life  in  Santiago,  that  "the  evils  come 
from  the  fact  that  the  people  have  tried  to  attain  European 
culture  at  one  bound." 

Vida  Nueva  concerns  one  Pedro  who  withdraws  from 
club  life,  its  gambling,  drinking,  and  horse  racing,  and 
retires  to  write  a  few  predictions  of  what  he  expects  will 
happen  to  his  various  acquaintances.  He  tells  them  on 
taking  leave  that  they  will  all  end  in  poverty  or  the  grave. 
After  an  absence  of  four  years,  during  which  he  receives 
no  letters  or  papers,  he  returns  to  Santiago.  Contrary  to 
his  expectations  he  finds  that  the  sports  and  high  livers 
are  not  only  alive  but  have  advanced  commercially, 
politically  and  socially.  Pedro's  nervous  system  is  so 
upset  that  his  physician  orders  him  to  an  asylum  for  the 

Luis  Orrego  Luco  (bom  1866),  who  began  his  literary 
labors  by  writing  short  stories  and  sketches  of  travel,  is 
a  novelist  of  versatile  talent.  His  Un  Idilio  Nuevo,  1900, 
depicts  that  class  of  society  in  Santiago  in  which  money 
is  the  thing  of  greatest  value  in  life.  Before  its  power, 
neither  love  nor  duty  can  stand.  His  Memorias  de  un 
Voluntario  de  la  P atria  Vieja^  1905?  is  a  historical  novel 
which  puts  before  the  reader  both  the  state  of  society 
and  the  important  personages  of  the  year  of  revolution, 
1 8 10.    His  Casa  Grande,  1908,  excited  much  discussion. 

Fiction  in  the  form  of  the  short  story  was  little  prac- 
ticed in  Chile,  before  the  twentieth  century.     A  virgin 


field  lay  thus  ready  for  the  exploitation  of  the  present 
generation.  There  have  always  been  of  course  examples 
of  a  similar  kind  of  literature  so  closely-^ltied  that  the 
division  line  is  hard  to  draw,  namely,  the  descriptive,  often 
jocose,  article  of  manners.  But  the  distinction  between 
the  descriptive  article  and  the  tale  should  be  borne  in 

The  earliest  prose  tales  written  by  a  Chilean  were 
those  of  J.  V.  Lastarria,  collected  several  years  after  their 
appearance,  in  a  volume  entitled  Antano  y  Hogano  be- 
cause some  of  the  tales  were  in  the  nature  of  historic 
legends.  Much  later  in  time  came  the  short  stories  of 
Orihuela  Grez  and  of  Orrego  Luco,  whose  longer  works 
of  fiction  have  been  discussed.  Of  the  younger  writers 
who  have  sought  to  rival  Maupassant,  several  are  worthy 
of  mention.  G.  Labarca  Hubertson  and  R.  Maluenda 
have  portrayed  Chilean  country  life  and  country  people 
in  an  artistic  manner.  Their  men  and  women  are  real 
beings  with  whose  loves  and  sufferings  the  reader  is  com- 
pelled to  sympathize.  The  characteristic  irony  of  the 
Maupassant  tale  seemed  the  important  thing  to  F.  Santi- 
baiiez  and  to  A.  C.  Espejo.  For  that  reason  their  stories 
of  domestic  life  though  entertaining  are  not  so  thoroughly 
Chilean.  A  master  of  the  short  story  is  Baldomero  Lillo 
whose  two  collections.  Sub  terra  (1904)  and  Sub  sole  (1907), 
interspersed  with  descriptive  articles,  reveal  many  classes 
of  the  Chilean  population,  farmers,  fishermen,  the  Arau- 
canian  Indian,  children,  miners. 

The  descriptive  sketch  which  has  flourished  so  widely 
in  all  Spanish-American  countries,  on  account  of  the 
necessities  of  journalism  has  on  the  whole  a  less  jocose 



character,  less  Andalusian  salt,  and  more  matter  of  fact 
than  elsewhere.  The  Chilean  model  has  been  J.  J.  Vallejo, 
"Jotabeche,"  whose  sketches  are  both  instructive  and 

Forty  years  later,  Daniel  Riquelme  became  his  first 
serious  rival  in  the  same  line.  Just  as  others  were  able  to 
extract  comic  verse  from  the  war  with  Peru,  Riquelme 
found  much  material  for  humoristic  sketches  of  military 

The  palm,  however,  for  humorous  description  of  man- 
ners must  be  awarded  to  Roman  Vial  (1833-96).  Besides, 
he  was  the  favorite  author  of  comic  sketches  for  the  stage, 
from  his  first  comedy  in  1871,  Los  Extremos  se  toe  an  to 
Gratitud  y  Amor  in  1881.  His  Mujer-H ombre  was  awarded 
a  prize  in  a  literary  contest. 

The  legend  or  historical  anecdote  is  a  form  of  literature 
made  especially  popular  by  the  Peruvian,  Ricardo  Palma. 
In  Chile  this  form  was  cultivated  by  Enrique  del  Solar 
(born  1844),  son  of  the  poetess,  Mercedes  Marin  del  Solar. 
He  frankly  abandoned  any  historical  purpose  though  he 
borrowed  from  written  or  oral  tradition  the  main  facts 
of  his  narratives  wrought  out  with  wealth  of  detail.  For 
example,  Una  Aventura  de  Ercilla,  an  anecdote  from  the 
poet's  life,  gave  opportunity  to  present  the  character  of 
the  warrior  bard  against  the  background  of  colonial  days. 
Enrique  del  Solar  also  wrote  several  novels  which  won 
applause  at  the  time  of  their  appearance.  Dos  Hermanos 
won  a  prize  in  a  newspaper  contest  in  1886.  He  also  per- 
formed a  great  service  to  literature  by  the  editing  and 
publishing  of  his  mother's  poems. 

Alberto  del  Solar  (bom  i860),  began  his  literary  career 


by  a  legend  Huincahual  dealing  with  a  love  affair  be- 
tween an  Araucanian  Indian  and  a  white  woman,  a  topic 
which  allowed  the  author  to  present  many  descriptions 
of  former  days.  Alberto  del  Solar  has  spent  a  part  of  his 
life  in  the  diplomatic  service  of  his  country.  His  impres- 
sions of  South  Americans  in  Paris  are  rendered  in  Rasta- 
quoere,  1890.  Of  his  novels  Contra  la  Marea,  1894,  and 
El  Faro,  1902,  the  latter  is  the  more  interesting.  That 
again  treats  of  the  exotic  in  the  sense  that  the  action  takes 
place  on  a  distant  island  of  the  Chilean  coast  where  ele- 
mental passions  hold  sway  in  the  little  colony  of  three 
men  and  the  daughter  of  the  keeper  of  the  light. 

From  the  legend  to  genuine  history  is  but  a  step,  and  in 
the  writing  of  their  history  Chileans  have  excelled.  The 
striking  characteristic  of  their  historical  style,  the  im- 
partial narrative  fortified  by  citation  of  original  documents, 
has  been  attributed  to  the  influence  of  Andres  Bello.  From 
the  moment  of  his  installation  in  1843  as  the  first  rector 
of  the  University  of  Chile,  he  superintended  the  publica- 
tions of  the  various  faculties  which  were  obligatory  upon 
their  members.  It  was  voted  that  one  member  of  each 
faculty  should  each  year  present  to  the  university  a  study 
of  some  topic  in  national  history. 

Of  the  vast  result  of  such  labor  only  this  cursory  men- 
tion can  be  made.  And  it  is  possible  to  consider  here  only 
those  writers  who  have  been  most  prominent  by  reason  of 
their  copiousness.  In  this  respect  Benjamin  Vicuiia 
Mackenna  (1831-86)  holds  first  place  not  only  in  his  own 
country  but  in  America.  The  sum  of  his  published  work 
has  been  calculated  at  one  hundred  and  sixty  volumes 
comprising  forty-three  thousand  four  hundred  and  two 

CHILE  241 

printed  pages.  Every  epoch  of  Chilean  history  seems 
to  have  been  investigated  by  him,  and  the  results  of  his 
researches  narrated  in  an  interesting,  almost  popular  style. 
His  favorite  form  was  the  biographical  account  of  a  leader, 
a  form  which  allowed  full  scope  and  play  to  the  human 
interest  of  the  narrative. 

Of  a  more  strictly  scientific  form  were  the  labors  of  the 
brothers  Miguel  Luis  and  Gregorio  Victor  Amunategui. 
On  account  of  the  similarity  of  their  style  it  is  considered 
impossible  to  separate  the  individual  work.  It  is  certain, 
however,  that  the  interests  of  Miguel  Luis,  the  elder 
(1828-88),  concerned  literary  topics  and  literary  men.  To 
the  brothers  Amunategui  the  world  owes  the  earliest  gen- 
eral discussion  of  Spanish-American  poetry  in  their  Juicios 
criticos  de  algunos  Poetas  hispano-americanoSy  written  for 
the  literary  contest  of  the  Circulo  de  los  Amigos  de  las 
Letras  in  1859.  For  the  literary  history  of  Chile  the 
biographies  of  Andres  Bello,  of  Sanfuentes  and  of  Camilo 
Henriquez,  and  the  researches  in  early  efforts  in  letters 
contained  in  the  volumes  La  Alborada  poetica  en  Chile  and 
Las  primeras  Representaciones  dramdticas  en  Chile  by  M.  L. 
Amunategui  are  indispensable.  Miguel  Luis  Amunategui 
also  took  an  important  part  in  politics  and  rose  to  be 
President  of  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  and  a  candidate, 
though  unsuccessful,  for  the  presidency  of  Chile. 

While  the  historical  researches  of  other  men  dealt  with 
separate  individuals  or  periods,  that  of  Diego  Barros 
Arana  (1830-1908)  formed  a  comprehensive  study  of  the 
whole.  Whatever  he  published  earlier  in  life  found  a 
summary  in  his  final  monumental  Historia  general  de  Chile. 
After  Bello,  Chile's  greatest  scholar  is  undoubtedly  Barros 


Arana.  Objection  has  sometimes  been  made  to  his  dry  im- 
partial style,  but  no  reproach  can  be  cast  at  the  historical 
accuracy  of  this  last  word  on  Chilean  history. 

The  literary  history  of  Chile  owes  much  to  Luis  Montt 
(i 848-1909),  formerly  director  of  the  national  library, 
author  of  a  bibliography  of  the  older  historians  of  Chile, 
whose  private  library  was  purchased  by  a  friend  of  Harvard 
University  and  given  to  it  as  a  remembrance  of  the  Pan- 
american  scientific  congress  at  Santiago  de  Chile.  Luis 
Montt's  literary  labor  was  diverse  in  character  including 
a  volume  of  poems,  a  life  of  Camilo  Henriquez  and  an 
edition  in  forty-eight  volumes  of  the  works  of  D.  F.  Sar- 
miento;  an  edition  of  Pedro  de  Oiia's  poem  El  Vasauro 
and  the  memoirs  of  Vicente  Perez  Rosales,  entitled  Re- 
cuerdos  del  Pasado. 

The  assistance  to  the  historian  of  such  memoirs  is  con- 
siderable. Important  and  interesting  for  the  period  which 
it  covers  is  Recuerdos  de  Treinta  Jnos,  published  in  1872  by 
Jose  Zapiola  (1802-85). 

Encyclopedic  in  its  thoroughness  has  been  the  labor  of 
Jose  Toribio  Medina  (bom  1852)  who  has  investigated  the 
history  of  printing  in  every  Spanish-American  country 
during  the  colonial  period.  Equally  authoritative  is  his 
Historia  de  la  Literaiura  colonial  de  Chile. 

Concerning  the  immense  amount  of  historical  writing 
which  has  been  produced  in  Chile  no  statement  could  be 
more  precise  or  illuminating  than  that  of  Jorge  Huneeus 
Gana  in  his  Cuadro  historico  de  la  Produccibn  intelectual 
de  Chile.  "It  is  a  very  interesting  circumstance  for  any- 
body who  tries  to  investigate  the  social  traits  of  our  people 
to  discover  from  the  very  moment  of  its  independent  con- 

CHILE  243 

stitution  an  extraordinary  zeal  for  the  patient  investiga- 
tion of  our  past.  Each  epoch,  each  administration,  each 
general,  each  revolution,  has  had  its  special  historian.  This 
trait  in  itself  reveals  the  seriousness  of  the  Chilean  char- 



In  Peru  the  period  immediately  following  the  expulsion 
of  the  Spaniards  was  not  propitious  for  the  production  of 
literature.  For  twenty  years  incessant  quarrels  between 
contending  factions,  the  speedy  overthrow  of  one  dictator 
after  another  kept  the  country  in  a  state  of  anarchy,  until 
a  strong  man,  Ramon  Castilla  (i 797-1 867),  became  pres- 
ident in  1845.  He  reestablished  order  and  prosperity, 
introduced  the  first  telegraph  and  the  first  railroad,  abol- 
ished negro  slavery  and  the  personal  tribute  exacted  from 
the  Indians,  set  up  a  new  constitution,  stimulated  foreign 
trade;  in  short  he  ruled  Peru  with  an  iron  hand  for  her  own 
good.  During  the  fifteen  years  of  his  administration 
literature  began  to  flourish. 

The  principal  figure  in  this  renaissance  of  letters  was  one 
of  Castilla's  foremost  political  opponents,  Felipe  Pardo  y 
Aliaga  (1806-68).  His  activity,  however,  was  largely 
limited  to  journalistic  satire,  but  his  son  Manuel  Pardo 
became  Castilla's  successor  in  the  direction  of  Peruvian 
affairs,  being  actually  President  of  Peru  from  1872  to  1876. 
Felipe  Pardo  was  sprung  from  the  old  Peruvian  aristocracy. 
His  mother  was  a  daughter  of  the  Marques  de  la  Fuente 
Hermosa,  while  his  father  was  regent  of  the  royal  audiencia 
of  Cuzco.  Taken  to  Spain  when  Peru  passed  from  Spanish 
control,  he  became  a  pupil  of  the  famous  teacher  Alberto 



Lista  and  even  one  of  his  favorite  pupils.  In  1828  he  re- 
turned to  Lima.  He  signalized  his  arrival  by  a  comedy 
presenting  national  manners,  Frutos  de  la  Educacion,  in 
three  acts.  In  this  play  are  revealed  the  characteristics, 
gay  wit  and  subtle  irony,  which  mark  all  his  writings.  In 
fact  these  qualities  in  varying  form,  a  modification  of 
Andalusian  salt,  give  a  peculiar  individuality  to  all  Peru- 
vian literature. 

Lima  being  the  seat  of  the  Spanish  government  in 
America,  the  residence  of  the  viceroy  and  the  place  of  re- 
sort for  persons  of  wealth,  there  developed  a  distinctly 
urban  society  with  customs,  ideas,  and  manners  of  its  own. 
Its  love  of  pomp  and  display  found  satisfaction  in  bull- 
fighting, in  the  theater,  and  in  religious  processions  on 
the  many  feast  days.  Its  necessity  for  chatter,  laughter 
and  gallantry  gave  rise  to  parties,  picnics,  and  serenades  to 
the  sound  of  the  guitar  beneath  the  balconies.  Its  love  for 
dancing  came  from  its  Andalusian  blood;  from  its  more  dis- 
tant Moorish  ancestors  the  custom  among  the  women  of 
covering  the  face.  The  ladies  of  Lima  adopted  the  odd 
habit  of  wearing  over  their  heads  a  black  shawl  which 
with  one  hand  they  held  drawn  about  the  face  disclosing 
only  one  eye.  What  havoc  that  one  sparkling  eye  is  said 
to  have  caused  in  the  hearts  of  youth!  The  girls,  ca- 
pricious and  willful  before  marriage,  became  tyrannical 
mothers  of  large  families.  In  both  men  and  women  the 
soft  climate  of  Lima  engendered  an  easy-going  insouciance, 
a  frivolity  of  mind  which  took  few  things  seriously  and  was 
immensely  pleased  by  the  laughter-causing  jest  at  any 
trifle.  For  the  kind  of  wit  which  could  set  a  whole  com- 
pany in  an  uproar  of  laughter,  as  a  spark  can  set  going  a 


pack  of  firecrackers,  they  coined  the  term  "chispa." 
One  successful  writer  of  epigrams  entitled  his  productions 
"chispazos."  Naturally  there  developed  in  such  quick- 
witted persons  a  special  vocabulary. 

When  Pardo  portrayed  this  society  in  his  three  comedies, 
he  could  not  deny  free  rein  to  his  fun-loving  disposition 
but  he  so  guided  it  in  accord  with  his  European  education 
and  aristocratic  breeding  as  to  censure  vulgar  or  immoral 
tendencies.  In  Los  Frutos  de  la  Educacion,  he  ridiculed 
the  father  who  tries  to  impose  a  husband  upon  his  daugh- 
ter as  harshly  as  he  judged  the  young  woman  who  loses 
her  sweetheart  because  she  dances  with  too  great  aban- 
don the  "zamacueca."  In  Una  Huerfana  en  Chorrillos, 
produced  in  1833,  the  fop,  Don  Quintin,  who  imitates 
everything  French,  even  speaking  Spanish  badly  from 
affectation,  apparently  a  common  type  of  youth,  is  not 
permitted  to  carry  off  the  young  heiress,  because  morality 
in  the  form  of  her  two  aunts  interferes;  nor  do  the  manners 
of  the  seaside  resort  where  dancing  continues  till  daylight 
escape  satire.  Don  Leocadio  is  another  play  of  manners  in 
which  Pardo  thought  to  chastise  by  ridicule. 

In  1836  Pardo  was  Peruvian  minister  in  Chile  and  took 
rather  an  active  part  in  the  intellectual  life  in  Santiago, 
even  to  the  extent  of  publishing  a  periodical,  El  Inter- 
prete.  At  this  time  were  written  some  of  Pardo's  famous 
letrillas.  These  are  clever  humorous  verses  without  bit- 
terness, composed  merely  for  the  sake  of  jesting  on  a 
variety  of  homely  topics,  as  his  coat,  a  bathing  suit,  an 
incident  in  the  bull  fight  or  the  peculiarities  of  an  in- 

After  Pardo's  return  to  Peru  he  placed  his  pen  at  the 


service  of  the  conservative  party.  The  cleverest  of  his 
efforts  appeared  in  1859,  when  President  Castilla  was 
promulgating  his  new  constitution.  Pardo  edited  a  satiric 
sheet,  Espejo  de  mi  Tierra  in  which  he  held  up  to  scorn 
those  democratic  proposals  which  grated  on  his  aristo- 
cratic nerves.  To  him  the  cry  "Viva  la  libertad"  was 
the  sublest  irony,  when  liberty  meant  for  the  negro  and 
his  former  master  equality  before  the  law.  In  number 
three  of  the  Espejo  de  mi  Tierra,  he  published  a  very 
amusing  parody  on  the  new  constitution.  Article  by 
article  he  commented  in  verse  on  the  various  provisions 
after  this  fashion.  Citizenship :  Property  is  not  a  requisite 
condition;  still  one  would  advise  the  citizen  to  have  trousers 
and  a  shirt.  Property:  It  is  inviolable,  except  when  taken 
by  the  soldiers  of  the  dictator.  The  manner  of  saying 
these  things  in  fluent  verse  adds  immensely  to  the  effect. 
But  of  course  in  spite  of  their  evident  cleverness,  Pardo's 
political  satires  could  not  live  beyond  the  occasion  which 
called  them  forth.  They  did,  however,  set  the  tone  for 
subsequent  writers. 

Manuel  A.  Segura  (1805-71)  was  not  Pardo's  equal  in 
satiric  verses  but  excelled  him  in  the  comedy  of  manners, 
both  in  character  drawing  and  in  style.  He  has  twelve 
comedies  to  his  credit.  As  he  did  not  begin  to  write  till 
after  his  discharge  from  the  army  in  1839,  his  work  covers 
a  slightly  later  period  than  the  comedies  of  Pardo.  But 
both  men  described  the  same  world  of  gayety  and  frivolity. 
The  girl  who  meets  a  lover  at  the  window  contrary  to  her 
father's  command  reappears  in  Segura's  La  Moza  Mala. 
In  Na  Catita  and  Saya  y  manto  the  Peruvian  type  of  Ce- 
lestina,  ready  for  any  sort  of  errand  or  intrigue,  holds  the 


center  of  interest.  El  Sargento  Canuto  entertains  the 
public  with  his  account  of  the  battle  of  Ayacucho  and  his 
preparations  to  meet  the  Spaniards  if  they  dare  return  to 
Peru.  The  Lances  de  Amancaes,  produced  in  1862,  stage 
the  occurrences  at  a  picnic  attended  by  half  the  popula- 
tion of  Lima.  In  these  plays  Segura  proves  himself  a 
better  observer  of  native  manners  than  Pardo  and  unlike 
him  cared  nothing  about  inculcating  a  moral. 

The  contemporaries  of  Pardo  and  Segura  who  cultivated 
lyric  poetry  were  younger  men.  To  them  the  spirit  of 
European  romanticism  came  across  the  seas  stimulating 
them  to  ambitious  imitation.  But  so  foreign  to  Peru- 
vian temperament  was  the  melancholy  pose  that  Ven- 
tura Garcia  Calderon  ^  writes  thus:  "Read  in  succession 
the  works  of  the  whole  romantic  generation  in  Peru  seem 
like  the  productions  of  a  single  author,  so  uniform  are 
their  common  lamentations.  Imitating  the  same  masters 
with  servility,  they  did  not  always  succeed  in  expressing 
their  melancholy  with  individuality.  And  because  they 
confused  lyric  poetry  with  eloquence,  a  frequent  con- 
fusion with  us,  they  exaggerated  their  accent.  They 
rivaled  each  other  in  disappointment.  Each  cried  louder 
than  the  other." 

It  is,  however,  not  strictly  correct  to  say  that  no  dis- 
tinctions between  the  poets  exist.  For  example  there 
arose  in  Arequipa  a  whole  flight  of  minor  poets  with  an  in- 
dividuality as  different  as  is  the  invigorating  climate  of 
their  mountain  city  situated  eight  thousand  feet  above 
sea  level  in  sight  of  lofty  volcanic  peaks,  as  different  as 
such  a  situation  from  that  of  Lima.    The  most  important 

*  V.  Garcia  Calderon,  Del  Romanticismo  al  modernismoy  page  105. 


of  the  Arequipans  was  Manuel  Castillo  (1814-70).  His 
first  poem  was  indited  to  the  tomb  of  the  revolutionary 
hero  of  his  native  town,  Mariano  Melgar.  Castillo  him- 
self suffered  banishment  for  participation  in  an  uprising. 
His  poems  showed  a  genuine  feeling  for  nature.  Es- 
pecially did  the  verses  Al  Misti  reveal  that  his  soul  was 
filled  with  the  majesty  of  the  mountain  that  dominates 
the  landscape  of  Arequipa. 

The  majesty  of  nature  again  was  the  stimulus  that 
incited  Manuel  Nicolas  Corpancho  (1839-63),  to  his  best 
work.  At  eighteen  he  had  written  a  drama  El  Poeta 
cruzado.  In  1853,  when  returning  from  Europe  through 
the  straits  of  Magellan  the  sublimity  of  the  scenery  in- 
spired him  to  compose  a  poem,  Magallanes  of  epic  form 
concerning  that  navigator.  The  first  canto  described  the 
interview  of  Magellan  with  Cardinal  Cisneros  from  whom 
he  obtained  five  ships;  the  second  canto  depicted  the  de- 
parture from  Seville;  the  third  the  death  of  Magellan, 
followed  by  a  "corona  poetica,"  laudatory  lines  on  the 
great  achievements  of  the  hero.  Corpancho  also  essayed 
the  heroic  note  in  poems  on  the  past  of  Peru.  The  Ar- 
gentine poet  Marmol  who  wrote  an  introduction  for  Cor- 
pancho*s  collected  poems,  Ensayos  Poeticosy  1854,  asked 
him  why  he  chose  to  write  of  the  past  rather  than  the 
future.  The  question  indicates  the  difference  between 
the  outlook  of  the  two  countries  represented  by  the  two 
men.  Corpancho's  praises  of  Peruvian  greatness  made 
him  popular.  In  i860  he  was  appointed  minister  to 
Mexico.  Three  years  later  he  met  a  tragic  death  in  the 
burning  at  sea  of  the  steamship  "  Mexico." 

The  most  genuine  in  his  lyric  grief  because  it  accorded 


with  his  natural  temperament  and  circumstances  of  life 
was  Carlos  Augusto  Salaverry  (1831-90).  The  impression 
made  on  his  youthful  mind  by  seeing  his  father  shot  as  a 
rebel  was  never  effaced.  His  melancholy  was  sincere  when 
his  verses  linked  love  and  death.  The  theme  of  love, 
particularly  in  the  series  of  poems  Cartas  a  un  Angely 
he  treated  with  pleasing  and  unusual  delicacy  but  with 
emphasis  on  the  sadness  of  separation  from  the  beloved. 
Loneliness  and  yearning  for  the  distant  sweetheart  has 
rarely  been  more  poetically  expressed  than  in  his  poem 
Acuerdate  de  mi,  brought  to  a  climax  with  the  cry  from  the 
depths  of  his  soul,  "Remember  me!" 

Clemente  Althaus  (1835-81)  was  rather  more  of  a 
professional  litterateur.  For  that  reason  he  imitated  many 
different  styles  and  passed  from  romanticism  in  his  early 
poems  to  classicism  in  his  later  verses.  There  is  also  a 
heroic  note  in  the  denunciation  of  the  Spanish  fleet  which 
seized  the  Chinchon  islands  in  1866,  a  note  inherited  per- 
haps from  his  father  who  was  a  general  at  the  battles  of 
Ayacucho  and  Junin.  There  is  even  a  hint  of  the  native 
Peruvian  ironical  jest.  In  his  abundance,  some  six  hun- 
dred printed  pages  of  verse,  there  are  essays  at  the  poetical 
legend,  as  Justina  and  Carmen  y  Rafael. 

A  more  philosophical  poet  who  wrote  from  his  personal 
experience  in  life  was  Jose  Amaldo  Marquez  (i 830-1904). 
He  tried  to  put  the  theory  of  the  cosmos  into  verse  by  setr 
ting  up  the  atom  and  force  as  opponents.  His  scientific 
turn  of  mind  led  him  to  become  an  inventor  of  a  machine 
to  print  with  a  reduced  number  of  types,  a  sort  of  fore- 
runner of  the  linotype.  Attempts  to  interest  capital  in 
its  perfecting  carried  him  to  Buenos  Aires  and  thence  to 


Paris  where  he  lived  in  extreme  poverty.  The  pitiful 
story  of  his  struggles  he  told  in  Meditacion.  His  poem 
A  Solas  expresses  the  resignation  of  a  fatalist  to  the  evil 
of  loneliness  inevitably  suffered  by  a  poor  man. 

In  Pedro  Paz  Soldan  y  Unanue  (1839-95),  his  country 
possessed  a  poet  whose  peculiar  excellencies  not  only 
placed  him  without  a  rival  in  Peru,  but  gave  him  a  marked 
individuality  among  the  foremost  in  Spanish  America. 
The  name  "Juan  de  Arona"  with  which  he  signed  his 
poems  was  derived  from  that  of  the  family  estate  situated 
at  some  distance  from  Lima.  And  the  beauty  of  that  re- 
gion appeared  most  minutely  observed  in  his  poems,  so 
minutely  that  critics  have  blamed  him  for  trying  to  write 
poetry  about  the  common  things  of  everyday  life  on  the 
farm.  Though  his  first  collection  of  poems,  Ruinas,  had 
echoes  of  the  romantic  pose  suggested  by  the  title,  it  was 
full  of  life  and  color,  love  of  flowers  and  birds,  whose  song 
he  even  tried  to  imitate  as  in  the  lines. 

La  ronca  cuculi  cuya  garganta 
Rompe  con  sus  arrullos  la  espesura. 

But  his  temperament  was  too  healthily  Peruvian  to 
be  long  depressed,  rather  on  his  blue  days  (as  he  says  in 
Los  Dias  turbios)  he  was  inclined  to  rage  like  a  hyena  at 
whatever  vexed  him  and  to  delight  in  the  misfortunes  of 
others.  His  state  of  mind  was  usually  one  which  expressed 
itself  in  jesting  at  everything  and  everybody.  Most 
wonderful  was  the  amount  of  fun  which  he  extracted 
from  an  account  in  facile  verse  of  a  journey  made  by  a 
mixed  company  from  Lima,  twenty  leagues  into  the 
country.     The  persons  in  the  cavalcade,  the  places  and 


incidents  on  the  way  all  furnished  him  with  ample  ma- 
terial for  burlesque.  At  greater  length  he  told  in  mock 
heroics,  La  Pinzonada,  the  deeds  of  Admiral  Pinzon.  Or 
he  sympathized  with  the  complaints  of  the  wife  of  a  mule 
driver.  If  the  verses  of  a  poet  signing  himself  "Roterup" 
struck  him  as  bad,  he  addressed  the  unlucky  author 
several  Roterupadas. 

As  time  brought  disappointments  to  Paz  Soldan,  the 
tone  of  his  satire  became  more  and  more  bitter  till  in  the 
periodical  El  Chispazo,  edited  by  him,  the  acme  of  political 
irony  was  reached.  As  if  to  relieve  his  mind  by  resort  to 
nature,  without  the  gall  which  for  him  now  pervaded 
the  Peruvian  landscape,  he  busied  himself  by  translations 
of  VirgiFs  Georgics  and  extracts  from  Lucretius  and  Ovid. 
In  estimating  Paz  Soldan,  however,  the  most  intrinsically 
valuable  and  interesting  of  his. works  will  always  remain 
the  pictures  of  native  life  and  Peruvian  scenery  in  the 
Cuadros  y  Episodios  peruanos,  published  in  1867. 

Wherever  romanticism  flourished  as  a  fashion  in  verse 
making,  a  translator  was  in  demand.  Such  a  place  fell  to 
Manuel  Adolfo  Garcia,  whose  renderings  of  Victor  Hugo 
were  popular  in  Peru.  Temporarily  popular  also  were 
some  of  his  own  compositions  both  those  of  lyric  character 
and  those  with  epic  ring  as  the  eloquent  invocation  J 

The  last  of  the  romanticists  was  Ricardo  Rossel  (1841- 
1909).  And  he  followed  the  spiritualistic  ideal  of  Lamar- 
tine  rather  than  the  sensual  and  pessimistic  trend  of  later 
French  poets.  His  most  notable  poem,  Meditacibn  en  el 
Cementerio,  written  on  a  text  from  Lamartine,  expresses 
the  hope  that  after  death  the  great  secret  of  human  des- 



tiny  will  be  revealed  to  him  though  he  will  be  unable  to 
communicate  it  to  a  questioning  poet  who  may  come  to 
sit  on  his  tomb.  Like  other  Peruvians,  however,  Rossel 
loved  the  merry  laugh  and  wrote  more  than  one  letrilla 
on  a  native  topic.  Historical  legends  too  interested  him. 
One  of  them  in  verse,  Hima  Sumac,  won  a  prize  in  a 
Chilean  contest,  1877. 

One  of  the  most  widely  known  Peruvians  was  Luis 
Benjamin  Cisneros  (i 837-1904),  both  because  his  pro- 
ductive period  was  long  and  because  he  lived  much  in 
other  countries  and  contributed  to  their  periodicals. 
Moreover,  the  breadth  of  spirit  in  the  kind  of  epic  verse 
which  he  cultivated  lifted  his  poems  from  the  narrow 
circle  of  the  merely  local.  As  Peruvian  consul  in  Havre 
for  eight  years  in  the  sixties,  he  made  the  acquaintance 
of  many  Spanish  Americans,  an  experience  which  gave 
rise  in  him  to  a  strongly  Pan-hispanic  feeling.  This  is 
voiced  in  his  Elegia  a  la  Muerte  de  Alfonso  XII,  express- 
ing a  certain  degree  of  real  grief  at  the  loss  suffered  by 
the  nation  to  which  the  Spanish  Americans  are  bound, 
both  by  ties  of  blood  and  by  a  common  historical  past. 
While  Cisneros'  ode  Al  Peru  in  i860,  was  a  romantic 
outburst  of  grandiloquent  patriotism,  his  fervid  prophecy 
of  a  glorious  future,  Aurora  Amor;  canto  al  Siglo  XX,  in 
1885,  was  written  in  almost  classic  style. 

Likewise  a  wanderer  from  Peru,  Carlos  G.  Amezaga 
(?-i9o6),  derived  his  originality  from  his  mercurial  and 
excitable  temperament.  In  Mexico,  the  vehemence  of 
the  verses  of  Diaz  Miron  pleased  him  so  that  with  like 
arrogance  he  threw  out  the  challenge  of  an  active  rebel 
against  the  injustice  of  fate.     An   admirer  of  heroism 


Amezaga  celebrated  its  manifestations  among  the  humble. 
The  most  interesting  of  his  poems  of  this  kind  is  the  in- 
complete Leyenda  'del  Caucho  which  in  epic  style  exalts 
the  hardships  of  the  poor  Indian  rubber  gatherer  in  the 
tropical  forests.  In  Buenos  Aires,  Amezaga  won  a  prize 
with  his  meritorious  Mas  alia  de  los  Cielos,  in  which  he 
voices  the  belief,  despite  assailing  doubts  to  the  contrary, 
that  humanity  will  be  redeemed  by  means  of  scjence  and 
poetry.  Amezaga  was  the  author  also  of  a  couple  of 
dramas  along  the  same  lines  as  his  verses,  but  they  were 
not  staged  and  are  rather  too  lyrical  for  presentation. 

Another  philosophical  poet  but  one  who,  finding  verse 
too  confining  for  his  thought,  adopted  the  essay  in  the 
style  of  Montaigne  was  Manuel  Gonzalez  Prada  (bom 
1844).  At  twenty  years  of  age  he  expressed  his  pessimism 
by  elegies  to  solitude,  but  being  influenced  by  the  anti- 
clericalism  of  the  Ecuadorean  Montalvo  he  began  to 
attack  religion  till  he  seemed  to  many  good  people  "an 
agent  of  Satan  in  Peru."  His  radicalism  finally  developed 
into  anarchism,  a  nihilistic  tendency  to  overthrow  every- 
thing existent.  The  essays  in  Pdginas  litres  fulminate 
not  only  against  religion  but  against  such  things  as  gram- 
mar and  orthography.  In  contrast  to  his  demand  for 
freedom  of  style  in  prose  are  both  the  form  and  thought 
of  his  later  verses  published  with  the  title  Minusculas. 
In  such  highly  artificial  forms  as  the  triolet  and  the  rondel 
he  sings  in  mystic  strain  a  happy  humanity  redeemed 
from  its  present  misery.  As  a  professor  of  literature, 
Gonzalez  Prada  is  said  to  have  taught  a  whole  genera- 
tion to  write  well. 

In  Ricardo  Palma  (bom   1833),   Peru  may  claim  the 


inventor  of  a  new  form  in  literature,  the  tradition,  to  give 
it  the  name  which  the  author  himself  employed.  It  is 
nothing  more  than  the  historical  anecdote,  frequently 
only  a  bit^  scandal,  a  sensational  or  unusual  crinie,  a 
practical  joke,  just  such  things  as  appear  in  the  newspapers 
every  day,  but  Palma's  traditions  were  gleaned  from  the 
historical  chronicles  of  Peru.  Though  he  vouched  for 
their  accuracy  they  were  written  in  such  a  vein  of  humor 
with  the  striking  points  so  skillfully  brought  out  that  his 
critics  accused  him  of  falsifying  history  without  suc- 
ceeding in  producing  a  novel.  None  of  his  imitators  ever 
quite  caught  the  trick  of  style  which  made  his  work  popu- 
lar in  all  the  periodicals  of  Spanish  America  for  thirty 
years.  The  inimitable  was  probably  the  dash  of  Peruvian 
wit.  Besides  he  ransacked  so  thoroughly  both  the  oral 
and  written  traditions  of  Peru  that  he  left  little  in  that 
field  for  anybody  else. 

Palma,  when  scarcely  twenty  years  of  age,  was  banished 
for  participation  in  a  political  plot.  Accordingly,  in  Paris 
he  published  a  volume  of  verse,  Armonias,  libro  de  un 
desterrado.  While  it  contained  enough  laments  in  ro- 
mantic tone  to  justify  the  sub-title,  the  most  original 
poems  were  certain  "cantorcillos"  miniatures  in  verse  of 
his  later  traditions  in  prose. 

In  the  first  series  of  traditions,  Palma,  aiming  more  at 
the  historian'^task,  related  the  acts  of  the  viceroys; 
but  as  the  number  of  the  series  lengthened  into  nine 
between  1863  and  1899,  any  sort  of  anecdote  afforded 
him  material.  Consequently  he  played  upon  a  great 
diversity  of  emotion  from  the  thrill  of  horror  to  the  broad 
laugh,  and  introduced  members  of  every  class  of  society 


from  the  viceroy  to  the  slave.  Being  somewhat  skeptical 
himself,  he  delighted  in  stories  referring  to  religious  super- 
stitions, belief  in  ghosts  or  tales  dealing  with  loose  living 
by  friars.  At  the  same  time  he  paid  willing  tribute  to 
heroism,  as  in  the  story  of  Fray  Pedro  Marieluz,  who 
died  rather  than  reveal  the  secrets  of  the  confessional 
even  when  his  political  sympathies  would  have  persuaded 
him  to  do  so. 

But  to  excite  laughter  was  Palma's  chief  aim.  As  an 
example  take  the  tale  of  the  skeptical  Andalusian  shop- 
keeper, who  did  not  believe  in  hell.  A  fanatic  priest 
wished  to  buy  some  provisions  of  him  on  credit.  The 
man  refused  to  sell,  saying  discourteously:  "  I  won't 
trust  you  in  order  to  be  paid  in  hell,  that  is,  never." 
The  priest  accused  the  shopkeeper  of  being  a  heretic 
because  he  did  not  believe  in  hell  and  so  worked  on  the 
sentiment  of  the  villagers  that  the  shopkeeper  had  to  flee 
to  save  his  life.  The  priest  incidentally  excommunicated 
him.  To  lift  the  decree  of  excommunication,  the  shop- 
keeper betook  himself  to  the  archbishop  in  Lima.  The 
latter  imposed  as  penance  marriage  with  a  certain  young 
woman  of  ill  repute,  daughter  of  a  famous  vixen.  After 
the  shopkeeper  had  been  married  a  short  time,  he  admitted 
to  a  friend  that  the  priest  was  right  in  affirming  the  ex- 
istence of  hell  "because  I  have  it  at  home." 

The  plastic  character  of  Palma's  traditions  owes  much 
to  his  constant  effort  to  culj  the  homely  phrase  or  the 
picturesque  turn  of  expression  from  the  speech  of  the 
people  or  from  old  books.  He  put  together  some  observa- 
tions of  this  sort  in  his  Papeletas  lexicogrdficas,  a  con- 
tinuation  of  Paz   Soldan's   Diccionario  de  Peruanismos, 


As  a  result  of  this  careful  documentation  and  Palma's 
resolve  not  to  inject  into  the  narrative  any  fancies  of  his 
own,  jthe  reader  of  his  traditions  feels  that  the  vivid 
picturc—jof  colonial  times  and  ideas  possesses  historic 
value  and  is  thankful  that  Palma  has  wiped  from  it  the 
dust  oTages. 

That  more  than  one  of  Palma's  traditions  related  in  a 
few  pages  of  print  might  be  expanded  into  a  novel  has  been 
indicated  by  Valera.  But  fiction  by  a  curiosity  of  fate 
was  cultivated  in  Peru  by  women.  This  may  have  been 
due  to  the  influence  of  a  remarkable  woman  of  Argentine 
birth,  Juana  Manuela  Gorriti  de  Belzu,  whose  life  story 
equalled  the  inventions  of  fiction. 

Bom  in  18 19,  at  the  age  of  twelve  she  emigrated  with 
her  father  when  he  was  banished  and  lived  with  an  uncle 
in  Bolivia.  At  the  age  of  fifteen  she  was  married  to 
Manuel  Belzu,  then  a  colonel  in  the  Bolivian  army,  and 
later  one  of  the  most  noted  if  not  notorious  characters  in 
Bolivian  history.  Belzu  being  partly  of  Indian  blood, 
a  *'cholo,"  he  wielded  great  influence  with  the  Indian 
element  so  strong  in  his  country.  In  1847,  when  ordered 
to  take  his  command  to  the  frontier,  he  started  a  rebellion. 
Though  unsuccessful  he  merely  suflPered  temporary  dep- 
rivation of  his  position  for  soon  thereafter  he  was  made 
minister  of  war.  In  1848,  pretending  to  make  an  inspection 
of  the  frontiers,  he  organized  an  uprising  which  put  him 
at  the  head  of  the  government.  As  President  of  Bolivia 
he  ruled  despotically  for  seven  years.  Driven  out  then 
he  lived  in  Europe  for  ten  years,  till  in  1865  he  returned 
and  started  a  revolution.  Momentarily  successful  he  was 
assassinated  in  the  presidential  palace  by  his  beaten  rival 


Melgarejo  who  was  accepted  as  president  by  the  troops 
assembled  in  the  square  below. 

During  Belzu's  exile  and  after  his  death,  his  wife,  Juana 
Manuela  Gorriti,  lived  in  Lima  where  she  became  promi- 
nent for  she  instituted  a  girls'  school  and  edited  a  periodi- 
cal. El  Correo  del  Peru.  As  early  as  1845  she  had  written 
a  considerable  tale.  La  Quena,  dealing  with  the  history  of 
the  Incas  and  the  days  of  their  splendor  in  Cuzco.  She 
continued  to  write  stories  mainly  with  a  historical  plot, 
some  of  which  were  based  on  events  in  Argentina  in  the 
time  of  Rosas.  In  Buenos  Aires  in  1865,  a  wave  of  popu- 
larity in  her  favor  was  inaugurated  by  the  editors  of  a 
review  who  printed  and  sold  by  subscription  a  collection 
of  her  stories  with  the  title  Suenos  y  Realidades.  Since 
then  Juana  Gorriti  has  been  lauded  in  Argentina  as  one  of 
the  literary  glories  of  the  country.  In  Lima  where  she 
made  her  home  for  so  many  years  her  influence  was  very 
great.  No  literary  gathering  was  complete  without  her 

For  example,  she  arranged  a  magnificent  ovation  to 
Clorinda  Matto  de  Turner  when  she  came  to  Lima  in  1877. 
Clorinda  Matto,  bom  1854,  was  a  well-educated  and  tal- 
ented young  lady  of  Cuzco  who  married  an  Englishman, 
Dr.  Turner,  in  1871.  She  wrote  verses  and  articles  for 
various  papers  and  attracted  special  attention  by  tradi- 
tions in  Ricardo  Palma's  manner  dealing  with  her  native 
city  Cuzco.  Palma  was  present  at  the  reception  in  Lima 
and  congratulated  her.  After  his  remarks  and  the  reading 
of  various  poems  Juana  Gorriti  crowned  the  guest  with  a 
wreath  of  silver  filigree  and  presented  her  with  a  gold  pen. 
Two  years  after  this  ceremony  at  the  time  of  the  war  with 


Chile,  her  popularity  among  her  compatriots  enabled  her 
to  carry  out  successfully  a  public  subscription  to  equip 
a  regiment  of  soldiers  known  as  the  "libres  de  Cuzco." 
After  her  husband's  death  in  1881,  Clorinda  Matto  de- 
voted her  attention  entirely  to  literature. 

In  her  writing  as  in  her  conduct  love  of  country  was  the 
distinguishing  characteristic,  both  of  the  traditions  of 
which  she  published  two  series  and  of  her  famous  novel 
Aves  sin  Nido.  The  latter  for  its  social  importance  has 
been  compared  to  Uncle  Tom  5  Cabin.  The  Peruvian 
novel  written  in  picturesque  style,  portrays  the  wretched 
condition  of  the  Indian  living  in  subjection  to  the  exactions 
of  the  governor,  the  parish  priest  and  the  land  holder. 

^^ Aves  sin  Nidoy'  says  the  Mexican  critic  F.  Sosa,^  "is  a 
book  which  the  President  of  Peru  and  the  head  of  the  Peru- 
vian church  ought  to  learn  by  heart;  the  first  in  order  to 
learn  in  all  its  enormity  the  depraved  conduct  of  the  civil 
oppressors  of  the  Indians  and  the  second  in  order  to  root 
out  the  race  of  bad  priests." 

More  successful  purely  as  a  novelist  was  Mercedes 
Cabello  de  Carbonero.  She  may  truly  be  called  the  one 
Peruvian  writer  who  has  produced  realistic  pictures  of 
Peruvian  society.  In  Las  Consecuencias  she  studied  the 
evil  of  gambling  as  it  develops  in  Peru.  The  frequent 
revolutions  originating  in  some  politician's  disappointed 
ambitions  are  explained  in  El  Conspirador,  as  well  as  the 
moral  and  social  degeneration  of  the  individuals  concerned. 
Blanca  Sol,  published  in  1889,  is  the  drama  of  a  woman  of 
society  borne  on  to  ruin  through  her  desire  to  shine,  her 
bad  education  and  the  evil  example  of  the  world  about 
^  F.  Sosa,  Escritores  y  Poetas  sud-americanos. 


her,  a  Madame  Bovary  in  a  Peruvian  environment.  This, 
the  most  popular  of  her  books,  has  passed  through  several 
editions  and  been  reprinted  in  many  Spanish-American 

In  the  present  generation  of  writers  Peru  has  given  the 
world  one  of  the  dominating  figures  of  the  latest  phase 
of  Spanish-American  literature,  Jose  Santos  Chocano. 
Though  his  works  have  their  roots  in  Peruvian  soil  their 
fruits  have  been  shared  by  the  whole  Spanish-American 
world.  They  will  therefore  be  considered  in  connection 
with  the  modemista  movement. 

A  few  of  his  leading  contemporaries  in  Peru  should  be 
mentioned.  Clemente  Palma,  son  of  Ricardo  Palma, 
having  inherited  his  father's  ironical  ability,  displayed  it 
in  a  field  of  his  own  selection.  His  Cuentos  Malevolos 
exploit  the  malice  in  mankind.  Wherever  he  could  find  an 
anecdote  of  a  man  who  rejoiced  in  his  neighbor's  harm  or 
ill  luck,  he  put  it  in  artistic  form,  whether  the  individual 
was  a  stolid  Russian  peasant  who  watched  a  peasant 
carter's  load  of  fish  being  jolted  into  the  river  without 
warning  him  or  whether  it  was  Satan  behind  the  cross 
sneering  at  the  dying  Christ. 

Of  poets  Jose  Galvez  has  most  shown  the  influence  of 
Chocano,  but  is  more  original  in  his  erotic  sonnets,  and 
poems.  A  melodic  Conversion  de  Venus  retells  in  epic  form 
with  a  curious  mingling  of  Greek  and  biblical  elements 
the  story  of  Mary  Magdalen.  To  the  erotic  and  musical 
practitioners  of  verse  belong  also  Juan  del  Carpio  and 
Leonid  as  N.  Yerovi. 

The  novel,  also  of  the  erotic  type,  has  been  practiced  by 
Felipe  Sassone  of  Italian  parentage  and  by  Enrique  A. 


Carrillo;  and  with  the  same  tendencies  the  realistic  drama 
by  Manuel  Bedoya. 

Speaking  now  of  serious  literature  Jose  de  la  Riva 
Agiiero  has  studied  the  Cardcter  de  la  Literatura  del  Peru 
independiente  as  well  as  the  historians  of  his  country.  But 
Francisco  Garcia  Calderon  has  won  international  fame  by 
his  essays  on  contemporaneous  historical  or  philosophical 
topics  in  his  Homhres  e  Ideas  de  neustro  Tiempo  and  his 
Profesores  de  Idealismo.  Written  in  French  Le  Perou 
contemporain  was  crowned  by  the  French  Academy;  while 
his  Democraties  latines  de  VAmerique  is  an  authoritative 
work  in  comprehensive  form  of  the  whole  history  of  Latin 
America.  The  latter  volume  makes  clear  the  influence 
in  every  country  of  the  local  politician,  the  demagogue,  or 
using  the  Spanish  word,  the  caudillo,  in  stirring  up  the 
mob  to  support  him  as  a  dictator.  The  problems  which 
face  each  country  from  the  character  of  its  population  and 
its  geographical  position  are  graphically  outlined. 


In  colonial  days  the  mountainous  region  beyond  Lake 
Titicaca  was  known  as  Alto  Peru.  As  the  Inca  stronghold 
Cuzco  was  also  situated  in  Upper  Peru  some  of  the  most 
dramatic  events  in  the  history  of  the  western  continent 
occurred  in  this  locality.  Not  to  be  forgotten  is  the  fact 
that  the  famous  hill  of  Potosi,  which  has  yielded  more  than 
two  billion  dollars  worth  of  silver,  is  now  in  the  Bolivian 
province  of  that  name.  In  the  town  of  PotosT,  which  once 
held  160,000  inhabitants  but  now  dwindled  to  small 
proportions  as  her  mines  have  been  exhausted,  were  heard 


the  first  mutterings  of  revolution  in  Peru.  And  in  the 
province  of  Potosi  almost  the  last  remnant  of  the  Spanish 
forces  in  America  was  rounded  up  by  General  Sucre,  the 
victor  at  the  great  battle  of  Ayacucho,  and  compelled  to 
surrender  in  March,  1825.  An  assembly  of  delegates  from 
Upper  Peru  declared  the  independence  of  the  region  and 
gave  it  the  name  of  Bolivia  in  honor  of  the  Liberator, 
Simon  Bolivar,  whom  they  named  perpetual  protector 
of  the  republic,  and  invited  to  prepare  a  constitution. 
Under  it  General  Sucre  was  elected  the  first  president. 
He  was  ousted  from  the  presidency  in  two  years  and  from 
that  time  till  1871  nearly  every  president  was  a  usurper 
who  ruled  by  force  of  arms. 

The  population  of  the  country  contains  only  about 
twelve  per  cent  of  pure  whites.  And  they,  probably  on 
account  of  the  climatic  conditions  on  the  high  tableland 
averaging  above  twelve  thousand  feet  above  sea  level, 
have  never  shown  much  energy  apart  from  the  exploita- 
tion of  the  immense  mineral  wealth  of  the  country.  Con- 
sequently the  literary  production  of  Bolivia  has  been 
slight  with  neither  a  noteworthy  journalistic  current  ac- 
companying its  succession  of  dictators  nor  a  capital  poet 
whose  work  commands  attention. 

The  romantic  movement  in  literature,  however,  stim- 
ulated three  contemporaries  to  poetic  effort,  Benjamin 
Lens  (1836-78),  Nestor  Galindo  (1830-65),  and  Daniel 
Calvo  (1832-80).  The  melancholy  tone  of  Galindo*s 
poems  published  under  the  title  of  Ldgrimas  had  its  jus- 
tification in  his  life,  for  he  suffered  proscription  more  than 
once  and  was  finally  executed  by  a  firing  party.  Calvo*s 
first  volume  is  described  by  its  title  Melancolias,     His 


later  Rimas  contains  some  romantic  legends,  of  which 
Ana  Dorset  contains  interesting  descriptions.  One  of  his 
best  lyrical  pieces  is  addressed  to  Galindo. 

Of  a  younger  generation  Rosendo  Villalobos  (bom  i860) 
has  been  an  active  writer  contributing  to  the  press  of  Lima 
where  he  was  a  member  of  the  Ateneo.  Of  his  poems  of 
which  he  put  forth  several  volumes  Tic-taCy  a  mi  reloj, 
meditations  caused  by  the  ticking  of  his  watch  in  the  silent 
night,  makes  good  reading. 

To  the  modernista  movement  Bolivia  gave  Ricardo 
Jaimes  Freyre  who  was  associated  with  Ruben  Dario.  He 
has  lived  all  his  manhood  days  in  Argentina,  however,  and 
is  now  a  professor  in  Tucuman. 



The  geography  of  Ecuador  has  exercised  great  influ- 
ence on  both  its  political  and  literary  history.  Its  two 
chief  cities  with  their  respective  provinces  are  absolutely 
diverse  in  character.  Quito,  the  capital,  is  situated  at  an 
altitude  of  9,300  feet  above  sea  level;  Guayaquil,  its  sea- 
port, lies  amid  pestilential  swamps  at  the  mouth  of  a 
tropical  river  directly  under  the  equator,  one  of  the  most 
unhealthy  spots  on  earth.  Before  the  opening  of  the 
railroad  in  1908,  the  journey  between  the  two  cities  re- 
quired several  days.  As  Quito  was  connected  with  Bogota 
by  an  old  trade  route  between  the  ridges  of  the  Cordil- 
leras, greater  affinity  existed  naturally  between  these 
two  high  lying  cities  than  between  the  capital  of  Ecuador 
and  its  seaport. 

At  the  time  of  the  expulsion  of  the  Spaniards  there  was 
a  movement  under  the  leadership  of  the  poet  Olmedo 
to  establish  the  province  of  Guayaquil  as  an  independent 
republic.  But  Bolivar  succeeded  in  uniting  Ecuador, 
Colombia,  and  Venezuela  into  one  republic  under  the 
name  of  Nueva  Granada.  When  this  ill-assorted  union 
fell  apart  at  the  Liberator's  death  a  Venezuelan  general, 
Juan  Josa  Flores,  became  president  of  Ecuador,  and  re- 
mained in  office  for  fifteen  years.  It  was  a  partisan  vic- 
tory of  this  president  that  Olmedo  sang  in  his  last  great 



poem.  When  Flores  fell  from  power  his  successor  at- 
tempted to  establish  a  government  along  radical  lines, 
but  Ecuador  was  too  conservative  to  permit  it.  Under 
the  leadership  of  Garcia  Moreno  the  conservative  catholic 
element  won  complete  control  and  set  up  a  clerical  dic- 

Gabriel  Garcia  Moreno  (1821-75)  ^^st  attracted  at- 
tention by  his  journalistic  articles  and  his  satirical  verse 
in  the  style  of  Juvenal.  His  epistle  in  verse  to  Fabio  on 
the  wretched  condition  of  his  country  assigns  as  a  cause 
the  irreligion  of  the  governing  party.  A  mystic  and  yet 
a  man  of  action,  Garcia  Moreno  summed  up  his  whole 
mental  attitude  and  political  policy  in  the  sentence,  "I 
am  a  Catholic  and  proud  to  be  one."  As  leader  of  the 
conservative  party,  he  welcomed  the  Jesuits  when  they 
were  expelled  from  Colombia  and  published  a  lengthy 
political  tract  in  two  volumes,  Defensa  de  los  Jesuitas. 
When  he  became  president  in  1861,  he  established  a  sort 
of  theocracy  of  which  he  was  the  secular  arm,  ruling  with 
absolute  tyranny.  If  his  enemies  in  Guayaquil  plotted 
revolution,  he  appeared  so  suddenly  in  the  city  with  an 
armed  force  that  they  were  easily  crushed.  On  the  other 
hand,  to  bad  friars  he  was  no  less  severe.  For  example, 
a  drunken  friar  was  ridden  through  Quito  on  the  back  of 
an  ass,  with  his  face  turned  toward  the  animal's  tail. 
But  severity  which  results  in  the  execution  of  many 
creates  embittered  enemies.  Of  these,  the  most  persistent 
and  able  was  Juan  Montalvo  whose  journalistic  attacks 
finally  resulted  in  the  assassination  of  Garcia  Moreno, 
in  1875.  Garcia  Moreno,  both  from  the  point  of  view 
of  individual  intelligence  and  of  the  extent  of  influence 


on  the  affairs  of  his  country,  was  one  of  the  most  remark- 
able of  Spanish  Americans,  and  he  differed  from  all  in 
the  rigid  character  of  his  reHgious  principles. 

Juan  Montalvo  (1833-89),  the  ardent  advocate  of 
tyrannicide,  preferred  his  independence  to  all  else.  Though 
President  Veintemilla,  successor  to  Garcia  Moreno,  tried 
to  buy  his  silence  by  political  preferment,  Montalvo  re- 
fused to  be  aught  but  a  critic  of  the  government.  Though 
a  Christian  who  esteemed  the  Imitation  the  greatest  of 
books,  he  was  actuated  by  the  most  intense  hatred  of 
friars  and  the  clergy.  In  literature  he  developed  a  style 
unique  in  America  and  instinct  with  the  best  qualities  of 
the  older  Spanish  prose.  For  that  reason  his  Siete  Tra- 
tados,  written  about  1873,  is  one  of  the  most  widely  known 
Spanish-American  books,  but  as  a  critic  points  out  he  is 
more  admired  than  read,  because  his  qualities  are  such  as 
appeal  chiefly  to  literary  men. 

The  Siete  Tratados  are  seven  essays  on  the  following 
topics: — nobility,  beauty  in  the  human  race  (women), 
reply  to  a  pseudo-catholic  sophist,  genius,  Bolivar  and 
Washington,  the  banquets  of  the  philosophers  (i.  e.,  food), 
and  El  Buscapie  (the  prologue  to  an  unpublished  book, 
Chapters  forgotten  by  Cervantes),  Written  in  the  manner 
of  Montaigne  (Montalvo  said  he  was  moved  to  write 
by  "that  pruritic  egoism  which  made  the  old  Gascon 
celebrated")  these  rambling  discourses  full  of  subtle 
irony  and  illustrative  anecdote  prove  interesting  reading 
on  account  of  the  brilliant  ideas  and  amusing  turns  of 
thought  on  familiar  matters.  The  author  never  neglects 
an  opportunity  for  a  thrust  at  a  friar  or  a  bit  of  religious 
superstition.     To  North  Americans,  his  comparison  be- 


tween  Washington  and  Bolivar  might  be  instructive.  He 
finds  them  both  greater  than  Napoleon,  because  their 
work  still  prospers  whereas  his  has  been  destroyed. 

After  1882,  Montalvo  lived  continuously  in  Paris.  He 
attempted  to  found  a  quarterly,  El  Espectador,  a  name 
borrowed  from  Addison's  famous  periodical,  in  which  he 
would  discourse  on  current  events  in  the  style  of  his 
Tratados;  but  lack  of  financial  success  soon  terminated 
its  issue.  He  probably  spent  much  of  his  time  on  the 
Capitulos  que  se  olvidaron  a  Cervantes ^  published  post- 
humously in  Besancon. 

So  successful  was  he  in  copying  both  the  style  and 
spirit  of  Cervantes  that  the  book  must  be  adjudged  one  of 
the  very  best  of  the  numerous  imitations  of  Don  Quixote. 
One  seems  to  be  listening  again  to  the  sage  discussions  of 
the  doleful  knight  and  his  squire,  though  there  is  plenty 
of  Montalvo's  own  personality  in  such  passages  as  the 
following.  Don  Quixote  is  examining  the  treasures  of  a 
village  church.  "The  first  thing  which  offered  itself  to 
his  eyes  were  some  large  paintings  which  represented  the 
principal  miracles  of  the  patron  of  the  village.  *This 
happened  in  the  Bay  of  Biscay,'  said  the  priest,  indicating 
a  shipwreck.  'AH  the  passengers  were  saved  except  those 
who  were  drowned.'  *  Weren't  they  all  saved  then.?'  in- 
quired Don  Quixote.  *Not  a  third  of  them,  sir.'  'And 
those  who  perished,  where  are  they.?'  again  inquired  Don 
Quixote.  'Wherever  God  may  have  put  them.  On  the 
canvas  are  only  those  of  the  miracle.*" 

The  dying  hour  of  Montalvo  is  worthy  of  narration  for 
the  phase  it  reveals  of  his  strange  personality.  Having 
caught  a  severe  cold  he  suffered  an  attack  of  pleurisy. 


which  the  doctors  found  necessary  to  relieve  by  a  surgical 
operation.  He  refused  the  administration  of  ether,  be- 
cause "on  no  occasion  in  my  life  have  I  lost  the  conscious- 
ness of  my  acts.'*  Though  he  bore  the  operation  stoically, 
it  failed  to  save  his  life.  An  hour  before  death  he  had 
himself  dressed  in  his  best  clothes  and  seated  in  an  easy 
chair,  saying, — "Whenever  we  are  going  to  perform  a 
solemn  act,  or  when  we  expect  to  meet  a  person  of  conse- 
quence, we  dress  in  our  best.  As  no  act  is  more  impor- 
tant than  quitting  life  for  death,  we  ought  to  receive  her 
decently."  (The  feminine  gender  of  the  Spanish  words 
for  life  and  death,  allowing  one  to  speak  of  death  as 
"her,"  gives  the  point  to  the  sentiment.)  Montalvo  at 
the  same  time  had  given  a  silver  coin  to  an  attendant  to 
buy  flowers  to  adorn  his  apartment.  The  price  of  flowers 
being  high  in  Paris  in  January,  the  man  returned  with 
nothing  more  than  four  pinks,  which  exhaled  their  frag- 
rance as  Montalvo's  spirit  passed  away. 

Another  native  of  Ecuador  who  attained  a  wide  repu- 
tation outside  of  his  own  country  was  the  poet  Numa 
^  Pompilio  Llona  (183  2-1907).  Bom  in  Guayaquil,  he  was 
educated  in  Colombia  and  in  Lima  where  from  1853  for 
nearly  ten  years  he  was  a  professor  of  literature  at  the 
college  of  San  Carlos.  He  then  spent  several  years 
in  Europe.  On  his  return  he  lived  chiefly  in  Ecuador 
with  periods  of  absence  in  the  diplomatic  service  of  his 
country.  While  he  wrote  many  sonnets  and  some  pa- 
triotic pieces,  his  most  popular  work  consisted  of  long 
poems  with  philosophical  content,  such  as  were  the 
fashion  in  Spanish  America  in  the  sixties;  for  example, 
Los  Caballeros  del  Apocalipsisy   inspired   by   a    painting 


which  he  had  seen  in  Paris,  Noche  de  Dolor  en  las  Mon- 
tanas,  religious  thoughts  experienced  among  the  Apen- 
nines, and  most  famous  of  all.  La  Odisea  del  Alma,  written 
in  1864,  so  admired  by  the  Argentine  poet  R.  Obligado 
that  he  wrote  a  poem  to  record  his  feelings  on  reading  it. 

This  poem.  La  Odisea  del  Alma,  addressed  to  his  mother, 
is  a  philosophical  discourse  on  life.  It  begins  by  a  refer- 
ence to  the  idyll  of  childhood,  its  response  to  the  wonders 
and  beauties  of  nature,  his  boyish  plans  for  an  education 
in  the  classics.  Filled  with  patriotic  pride,  strong,  for  the 
struggle,  armed  with  theories  and  maxims,  the  youth 
aspires  to  intellectual  triumphs.  When  he  meets  reality 
the  first  effect  on  his  illusions  is  indifference,  but  as  he 
continues  to  mingle  with  human  society,  his  ideals  break 
on  the  reefs.  The  poem  concludes  by  comparing  life  with 
the  combats  in  the  Roman  Coliseum  in  which  the  glad- 
iators "fell  with  haughty  expression  and  in  a  posture 
artistic  and  gallant." 

Of  minor  poets  in  Ecuador  an  anthology  shows  a  decent 
number.  Of  these  the  poetess  Dolores  Veintemilla  de 
Galindo  waged  an  unequal  battle  for  better  consideration 
for  women  in  Ecuador.  Accused  unjustly  by  a  priest 
she  committed  suicide,  and  the  only  mourner  at  this 
funeral  of  a  suicide  was  the  Chilean  poet  Guillermo  Blest 
Gana,  then  minister  to  Ecuador,  who  attended  in  full 
diplomatic  dress. 

Other  writers  of  verse  were  Honorato  Vasquez,  Julio 
Zaldumbide    (1833),    and    Luis    Cordero    (1830-1912).    >^ 
Cordero*s  lines  struck  a  patriotic  note  with  something  of 
the  tone  of  the  Argentine  poet  Andrade  to  whom  he 
dedicated  his  best  poem,  Aplausos  y  Quejas.    Zaldumbide 


was  a  lover  of  Byron's  poems  and  translated  Lara.  Though 
the  philosophic  strain  predominated  in  La  Eternidad  de 
la  Vida  and  the  Canto  a  la  Musica,  his  Soledad  del  Campo 
revealed  true  feeling  for  the  beauties  of  nature. 
V  Juan  Leon  Mera  (1832-99),  was  the  literary  man  of 
most  universal  talent  yet  produced  by  Ecuador,  poet, 
scholar,  antiquarian,  novelist,  excellent  in  all.  His  first 
volume  of  verse,  published  in  1858,  showed  both  acquaint- 
ance with  and  love  for  the  Indian  traditions  and  lore  of 
his  country.  The  short  romances  and  poems  of  this  vol- 
ume, of  which  should  be  mentioned  an  ode  to  the  sun  from 
the  top  of  Panecillo,  a  small  mountain  on  which  the 
aborigenes  had  a  temple,  were  followed  in  1861  by  the 
long  legend  La  Virgen  del  Sol. 

This  pleasant  poetic  tale  in  verse  is  one  of  the  most  in- 
teresting of  the  many  which  Spanish  Americans  have 
written  concerning  the  life  of  the  Indians.  The  reader's 
sympathy  is  awakened  and  held  by  the  dramatic  course 
of  the  adventures  of  the  lovers,  while  the  introduction  of 
verses  in  imitation  of  the  native  serenades  or  "yaravies" 
adds  a  strange  exotic  element.  The  story  is  laid  in  the 
time  of  the  conquest  of  Ecuador.  It  introduces  the  legend 
of  Uiracocha,  an  Inca,  who  had  prophesied  that  the 
country  would  fall  into  the  hands  of  conquerors  when  the 
volcano  Cotopaxi  should  be  in  eruption.  The  maiden 
Cisa,  one  of  the  virgins  dedicated  to  worship  of  the  sun, 
elopes  with  Amaru.  They  live  in  a  cabin  in  the  woods 
but  their  idyll  is  rudely  disturbed  by  an  eruption  of  the 
volcano,  which  they  believe  is  a  sign  of  the  wrath  of  the 
deity  at  their  sin.  They  flee  but  are  captured  by  a  band 
of  Indians  who  were  searching  for  them.    They  are  bound 



to  stakes  and  about  to  be  executed  when  a  Spanish  army 
surprise  the  Indians.  When  the  Spaniards  learn  why  the 
young  man  and  maid  are  bound,  the  friar  Marcos  Niza 
baptizes  and  marries  them. 

Mera  next  occupied  himself  with  various  literary  and 
scientific  investigations  on  topics  mainly  connected  with 
Ecuador.  He  wrote  a  history  of  its  literature,  Ojeada 
historico-critica  sobre  la  Poesia  ecuatoriandy  prepared  an 
edition  of  the  poems  of  the  celebrated  Mexican  nun  Sor 
Juana  Ines  de  la  Cruz,  and  some  years  later  elucidated 
some  obscure  points  in  the  life  of  Olmedo,  whose  letters 
he  edited.  In  1879  he  published  a  prose  novel,  Cumandd 
0  un  drama  entre  salvajes. 

Cumanda  is  a  beautiful  young  woman  living  with  an 
Indian  family.  A  Spaniard,  Carlos  de  Orozco,  falls  in 
love  with  her  but  she  is  married  to  an  old  Indian  chief. 
The  latter  dies  on  the  night  of  the  wedding.  When  his 
tribesmen  plan  to  sacrifice  her  to  his  departed  spirit,  she 
escapes  through  the  woods  to  the  Spanish  mission.  How- 
ever, to  save  Carlos,  who  had  been  taken  prisoner,  and  to 
avoid  making  the  mission  the  object  of  a  threatened 
attack  by  the  Indians,  she  voluntarily  gives  herself  up  to 
the  savages,  who  thereupon  sacrifice  her.  Carlos  and 
Father  Domingo  set  out  to  rescue  Cumanda  but  succeed 
only  in  finding  her  charred  body.  Father  Domingo  dis- 
covers that  the  girl  was  his  own  daughter  whom  he  sup- 
posed killed  in  babyhood  when  his  farm  had  been  sacked 
by  savages. 

The  Spanish  critic  Valera  was  much  pleased  by  this 
novel,  to  which  he  gave  such  high  praise  as  the  following: 
**  Neither   Cooper   nor   Chateaubriand    have    better   de- 


picted  the  life  of  the  woods  nor  have  felt  and  described 
more  poetically  exuberant  nature  still  free  from  the  power 
of  civilized  man." 

Other  writers  of  prose  fiction  were  Francisco  Campos 
with  his  historical  and  fantastic  legends  and  Carlos  R. 
Tobar.  The  latter's  Timoleon  Coloma  in  the  form  of  an 
autobiography  gave  interesting  sketches  of  life  in  Quito. 
Other  sketches  he  printed  in  volumes  entitled  Brochadas 
and  Mas  Brochades. 

In  the  field  of  verse  Emilio  Gallegos  Naranjo  not  only 
complied  a  Parnaso  ecuatoriano  but  published  volumes  of 
his  own  compositions,  1888.  Dolores  Sucre  wrote  a  pa- 
triotic ode  to  her  ancestor  General  Sucre,  1896.  Among 
the  young  men  who  have  written  in  modernista  manner 
Emilio  Gallegos  del  Campo  has  won  the  greatest  praise 
from  critics  outside  of  Ecuador. 

An  intellectual  leader  of  the  present  day  in  Ecuador 
is  Alejandro  Andrade  Coello,  a  student  of  literature  and 
founder  in  191 3,  of  La  Revista  nacional  in  Quito. 



In  studying  Colombian  literature,  certain  geographical 
and  historical  facts  about  the  country  must  be  borne  in 
mind.  Colombia  occupies  the  northwest  corner  of  South 
America  adjoining  the  isthmus  of  Panama.  The  first 
settlements  were  made  on  the  isthmus  and  at  Santa  Marta 
and  Cartagena  on  the  coast  of  the  Caribbean  sea.  The 
climate  here  is  excessively  hot  and  unhealthy.  Three 
ranges  of  mountains  forming  part  of  the  Andes  come  down 
to  the  ocean.  Between  the  ranges  flow  great  rivers,  the 
most  important  of  which  are  the  Magdalena  and  the 
Cauca.  Their  sources  lie  amid  lofty  mountain  peaks 
whose  elevation  above  sea  level  frequently  exceeds  fifteen 
thousand  feet. 

The  first  expedition  to  the  interior  set  out  from  Santa 
Marta  in  1536,  under  the  command  of  Gonzalo  Jimenez  de 
Quesada.  Following  the  Magdalena  he  arrived  at  the 
site  of  the  present  city  of  Bogota,  situated  in  a  wide  plain 
at  an  elevation  of  eight  thousand  five  hundred  feet.  The 
soil  of  the  "sabana"  of  Bogota,  comprising  an  area  of 
two  thousand  square  miles,  is  very  fertile.  Though 
directly  under  the  equator  the  region  enjoys  a  mild  and 
agreeable  climate.  On  account  of  its  general  resemblance 
to  the  situation  of  the  vega  of  Granada,  Quesada  gave 
the  country  the  name  of  New  Granada.     Being  rich  in 



minerals,  it  attracted  a  fairly  numerous  immigration  from 

To  reach  Bogota  required  in  the  old  days  a  journey  of 
at  least  three  weeks,  and  even  to-day  when  a  portion  of 
the  distance  may  be  traversed  in  a  steamboat  on  the 
Magdalena  and  by  rail  around  some  of  its  rapids,  not 
less  than  seven  days  are  necessary  for  the  trip.  As  a 
consequence  of  their  geographical  isolation,  the  people 
have  retained  many  characteristics  of  their  ancestors,  with 
less  change  than  is  the  case  in  other  Spanish-American 
communities.  The  educated  class  having  then  distinction 
of  ancestry  as  well  as  inherited  wealth,  it  is  natural  that 
their  literature  should  have  aristocratic  traits.  Several 
of  the  poets  who  deserve  individual  mention,  even  in  so 
brief  an  account  as  the  present,  have  held  the  office  of 
president  of  the  republic. 

As  the  term  of  this  office  during  a  large  part  of  the 
nineteenth  century  was  only  two  years,  and  there  have 
been  no  less  than  thirty-seven  revolutions  in  Colombia, 
many  men  have  had  an  opportunity  for  a  brief  period  of 
enjoying  the  honor.  The  great  revolution  against  Spanish 
dominion  was  successful  when  Bolivar,  in  1819,  defeated 
the  royal  soldiers  at  Boyaca.  But  the  republic  which 
the  Liberator  formed  from  the  countries  now  known  as 
Venezuela,  Colombia,  and  Ecuador  and  named  Colombia 
lasted  only  till  his  death.  The  three  parted  company  in 
183 1,  and  New  Granada  reassumed  her  colonial  name. 
The  political  changes  of  1861  guaranteed  great  freedom 
of  individual  action  to  the  various  sections  of  the  country, 
which  was  symbolized  by  the  name  United  States  of 
Colombia.     Such  turmoil  resulted  from  the  federal  form 


of  government  that  in  1886  a  new  constitution  setting 
up  the  unitarian  type  of  republic  was  adopted;  and  the 
former  states  became  departments  as  in  the  French  Re- 
public. The  latest  important  episode  in  Colombian  his- 
tory was  the  separation  of  Panama,  in  1903,  and  its  es- 
tablishment as  an  independent  republic. 

Among  the  young  men  of  prominence  in  the  Republic 
of  New  Granada,  was  Jose  Eusebio  Caro  (1817-53),  ^^o 
with  his  friend  and  fellow  poet,  Jose  Joaquin  Ortiz  (1814- 
92),  founded  the  first  purely  literary  journal.  La  Estrella 
Nacional,  in  1836.  Caro  was  also  editor  of  the  political 
journal  El  Granadino.  His  share  in  political  life  was  con- 
siderable as  he  was  not  only  a  member  of  Congress,  but 
also  held  various  cabinet  offices.  An  incident  that  oc- 
curred in  1844,  when  he  occupied  a  position  in  the  office 
of  the  Secretary  of  the  Interior,  illustrates  the  character 
of  the  man.  Julio  Arboleda  accused  Caro  in  open  con- 
gress of  designs  on  the  constitution.  Caro  replied  that 
Arboleda  being  a  slave  holder,  it  was  not  fitting  of  him 
that  he  should  think  anybody  an  enemy  of  liberty.  Ar- 
boleda retorted  that  Caro  was  a  parasite  of  the  govern- 
ment, whereat  the  latter  instantly  resigned  his  position, 
though  he  needed  it  to  support  his  family. 

Character  in  fact  is  the  distinguishing  note  of  Caro's 
poems.  He  is  the  Puritan  of  South  American  literature. 
The  severity  and  sternness  of  his  temperament  seems  to 
have  been  inherited  from  his  grandfather  or  imbibed  from 
his  teachings.  His  own  father,  an  officer  in  the  Spanish 
army,  threw  in  his  lot  with  the  colonials  on  account  of 
his  marriage  to  Jose's  mother,  but  the  grandfather,  a 
judge  in  the  Spanish  court,  refused  to  take  part  in  the  re- 


bellion.  Being  unable  to  leave  Colombia  on  account  of 
a  chronic  ailment,  he  suffered  much  persecution.  With 
him  the  boy  Jose  lived  during  the  absence  of  his  father  in 
Europe  on  a  mission  for  the  young  republic.  From  his 
grandfather,  a  learned  man,  the  boy  received  also  much 
of  his  early  education  and  the  first  inspiration  to  verse 

His  poems  are  an  echo  of  his  life  experiences,  a  sort  of 
diary  of  his  moral  emotions.  He  records  his  feelings  at 
his  father's  death  in  El  Huerfano  sohre  el  Cadaver.  While 
the  poems  to  "Delina"  are  not  so  very  different  from  the 
kind  of  poetry  that  men  ordinarily  write  to  the  women 
they  subsequently  marry,  those  inspired  by  his  marriage 
and  the  events  of  his  married  life  possess  a  strange  orig- 
inality of  conception.  His  Bendicion  Nupcial  treats  the 
subject  of  marriage  from  a  point  of  view  that  ought  to 
delight  the  present  day  advocates  of  eugenics.  But  even 
they  might  balk  at  the  poet's  procedure  in  A  su  Primo- 
genito,  written  before  the  child's  birth.  Accused  by  his 
contemporaries  of  obscenity  in  this  poem,  he  replied  that 
he  would  give  his  son  the  pen  with  which  he  blessed  him 
before  birth.  Upon  the  occasion  of  the  baptism  of  his 
second  son,  Caro  wrote  El  Bautismo,  a  defense  of  Chris- 
tianity. No  less  vehement  was  he  in  political  verse,  es- 
pecially on  topics  dealing  with  liberty. 

In  this  regard  he  was  ready  to  stand  by  his  opinions,  a 
fact  which  led  to  the  one  great  event  of  his  life  and  per- 
haps ultimately  to  his  death.  He  dared  to  defend  in 
print  and  before  the  government,  a  man  whom  he  be- 
lieved was  being  unjustly  treated.  The  result,  however, 
was  a  sentence  of  imprisonment  against  Caro.     But  his 


friends  succeeded  in  getting  him  out  of  the  country,  and 
he  lived  in  banishment  for  three  years  in  New  York. 
When  politics  at  home  allowed  his  return,  he  set  out  in  fine 
spirits  and  health,  but  on  arriving  at  Santa  Marta  he  was 
seized  by  a  fever  and  died  the  sudden  death  of  the  tropics. 
The  lyrical  quality  of  Carols  poetry  is  considerable. 
At  the  same  time  his  poems  are  filled  with  ideas,  so  that 
they  resemble  to  some  extent  brilliant  declamatory  ora- 
tions. He  was  accustomed  to  use  unusual  meters  and 
rhyme  schemes.  A  fair  notion  of  his  workmanship  and 
his  worth  as  a  poet  may  be  obtained  by  the  follow^ing 
translation  of  the  lines,  En  Boca  del  fjltimo  Inca,  rendered 
in  approximately  the  meter  of  the  original  with  the  same 
scheme  of  rhymes. 

To-day  arriving  on  Pichincha's  slope, 
The  deadly  cannon  of  the  whites  I  flee, 
Like  the  sun  a  wanderer,  like  the  sun  aflame, 
Like  the  sun  free. 

O  Sun,  my  Father,  hearken!    Manco's  throne 
Lies  in  the  dust;  Thy  altar's  sanctity 
Profaned;  exalting  thee  alone  I  pray. 
Alone  but  free. 

O  Sun,  my  Father,  hearken!    A  slave  before 
The  nations  of  the  world  I'll  not  agree 
To  bear  the  mark.    To  slay  myself  I  come. 
To  die  though  free. 

To-day  Thou  wilt  perceive  me,  when  afar 
Thou  dost  begin  to  sink  into  the  sea, 
Singing  Thy  hymns  on  the  volcano's  top, 
Singing  and  free. 


To-morrow  though,  alas!  when  once  again 
Thy  crown  throughout  the  east  will  shining  be, 
Its  golden  splendor  on  my  tomb  will  fall, 
My  tomb  though  free. 

Upon  my  tomb  the  condor  will  descend 
From  heaven,  the  condor,  bird  of  liberty. 
And  building  there  its  nest,  will  hatch  its  young. 
Unknown  and  free.^ 

To  his  friend  and  co-editor,  J.  J.  Ortiz,  the  poet 
Caro  owes  the  publication  of  his  collected  poems.  Ortiz 
is  himself  reckoned  among  Colombia's  great  poets,  but 
his  inspiration  had  its  sources  more  directly  in  the  ro- 
mantic school,  and  he  lived  a  much  longer  life.  On  the 
other  hand,  Caro's  congressional  opponent,  Julio  Arboleda, 
was  exactly  his  contemporary,  as  they  were  both  born 
in  the  spring  of  the  same  year.  Arboleda  must  be  ac- 
counted, however,  the  greater  poet. 

Julio  Arboleda  (1817-1862)  was  descended  from  one  of 
the  earliest  settlers  in  the  bishopric  of  Popayan,  a  district 
on  the  headwaters  of  the  Cauca  near  the  border  of  Ecuador 
on  the  old  trade  route  between  Bogota  and  Quito.  His 
father,  Rafael  Arboleda,  was  a  trusted  friend  of  Bolivar 
and  ruined  his  health  on  a  mission  for  the  Liberator.  In 
1830,  taking  with  him  his  son  Julio,  he  went  to  Europe  in 
search  of  relief.  The  father  died  within  a  year,  but  the 
son  remained  for  eight  years  till  he  received  the  degree  of 
Bachelor  of  Arts  from  the  University  of  London.  On  his 
return  to  Popayan  he  plunged  with  all  the  ardor  of  youth 
into  politics.  Though  he  was  one  of  the  richest  proprietors 
of  the  locality,  he  enlisted  in  the  national  guard  then  form- 

*  Version  of  Alfred  Coester. 


ing  to  put  down  a  serious  revolution  against  the  govern- 
ment at  Bogota. 

His  personality  was  attractive.  Throughout  the  coun- 
try he  became  known  as  "Don  Julio."  His  bravery  won 
for  him  steady  advancement  in  military  rank  so  that  at 
the  end  of  the  war,  1842,  he  went  home  as  a  colonel.  Then 
he  married  and  devoted  his  time  to  his  estate  and  to  letters. 
His  neighbors  interrupted  this  manner  of  life  by  sending 
him  to  the  Congress,  where  he  was  conspicuous  for  his 

As  a  member  of  the  opposition  he  published  an  im- 
portant pamphlet  against  the  Jesuits,  but  when  in  1849  his 
party  won  the  upper  hand  and  electing  Jose  H.  L5pez 
president,  proceeded  to  expel  the  order,  Arboleda  was  un- 
willing to  follow  all  his  measures.  He  withdrew  to  his 
native  town  and  began  the  publication  of  a  satirical  jour- 
nal, El  Misoforoy  against  the  democratic  and  socialistic 
liberal  party.  For  this  he  was  thrown  into  prison.  From 
its  walls  he  sent  forth  his  two  most  noted  political  poems, 
Estoy  en  la  cdrcel,  and  Al  Congreso  granadino.  In  the 
former  he  lashed  with  bitter  invective  "Lopez  el  Tirano" 
and  his  judge,  Miguel  Valencia,  who  was  recklessly  con- 
demning to  death  even  women.  In  the  latter  poem  he 
urged  the  Congress  to  stand  firm  in  "the  defense  of  the 
people"  and  "restore  to  the  Republic  her  ancient  majesty." 

Having  been  set  free  from  prison  by  reason  of  money 
paid  by  his  brother,  Arboleda  joined  the  revolution  that 
was  beginning  in  the  province  on  the  frontier  of  Ecuador. 
Badly  beaten  he  and  his  companions  made  their  way 
through  Ecuador  to  Lima.  At  this  time  his  property  was 
sacked  and  the  papers  in  his  house  destroyed.  Among  them 


was  the  manuscript  of  the  long  poem  which  is  Arboleda's 
chief  claim  to  fame  as  a  poet,  the  epic  history  of  Gonzalo 
de  Oyon.  After  residing  in  Peru  till  the  beginning  of  1853, 
he  set  out  for  New  York,  bidding  farewell  to  "gaya  Lima" 
in  a  lyric  outburst  that  contrasted  his  melancholy  state  as 
a  proscribed  person  with  the  dwellers  in  an  earthly  Eden. 
This  gem  begins: — 

Me  voy  de  las  playas  alegres,  siiaves, 
Do  el  Rimac  corriendo  tranquilo  murmulla; 
Do  el  cefiro  alienta,  la  t6rtola  arrulla. 
Do  nunca  ha  apagado  sus  rayos  el  sol. 

The  next  year  with  a  change  in  the  government  Arboleda 
returned  to  Bogota  as  a  senator.  It  was  not  long  before 
civil  war  again  prevailed.  Arboleda  held  this  time  a  high 
position  in  the  army  of  the  constitutionalists  operating 
against  the  dictator  Melo.  Success  crowned  their  arms. 
As  President  of  Congress  Arboleda  inducted  into  office  the 
new  President  Mallarino.  In  1856  Ospina  of  the  con- 
servative party  was  elected  President,  but  the  caudillo 
Mosquera  instantly  started  a  revolt.  At  this  period 
Arboleda  was  in  Europe  for  the  purpose  of  educating  his 
children.  When  affairs  were  going  badly  with  Ospina  he 
called  upon  Arboleda  to  assist.  The  latter  felt  that  duty 
claimed  him  and  leaving  Paris  he  reached  Colombia  in  the 
autumn  of  i860.  He  took  command  at  Santa  Marta 
where  he  was  promptly  besieged.  After  a  month  he  was 
obliged  to  evacuate.  He  transferred  his  troops  and 
munitions  of  war  by  sea  to  Panama,  thence  he  organized 
an  expedition  along  the  Cauca  river  to  march  upon 
Popayan.     In  this  region  the  popularity  of  "Don  Julio" 


brought  hundreds  of  the  country  people  to  his  standard. 
As  the  government  of  Ospina  had  legally  come  to  an  end, 
his  enthusiastic  followers  elected  Arboleda  President,  but 
the  ratification  by  the  Congress  required  by  the  constitu- 
tion was  impossible,  because  Mosquera  had  taken  Bogota 
by  assault  and  the  members  had  fled.  As  general  in  chief 
of  the  constitutional  forces  Arboleda  held  his  own  against 
the  dictator  for  upwards  of  a  year.  In  one  of  his  battles 
he  defeated  and  took  prisoner  the  President  of  Ecuador, 
Garcia  Moreno,  who  had  taken  a  part  in  the  struggle  near 
the  border.  But  his  lieutenants  were  less  successful  and 
his  soldiers  opposed  to  expeditions  that  would  take  them 
far  from  home.  The  end  came  on  November  12,  1862, 
when  he  was  killed  by  an  assassin  who  lay  in  wait  for  him 
by  the  wayside. 

Something  is  added  to  the  comprehension  of  Arboleda*s 
character  by  the  perusal  of  extracts  from  a  letter  to  an 
English  friend  about  the  time  of  his  resistance  to  the 
government  of  Lopez.  "  Fortune  has  of  late  smiled  upon 
me  most  graciously.  My  business  has  not  only  gone  on 
very  well  in  general,  but  my  lands  have  such  a  great 
quantity  of  excellent  quinine  that  for  many  years  I  shall 
be  able  to  export  two  thousand  sacks  annually.  I  have 
a  contract  for  three  thousand  which  I  am  sure  to  deliver 
within  these  twelve  months.  The  export  will  cost  me  very 
little  because  I  have  more  than  five  hundred  idle  mules, 
which  by  the  exercise  of  taking  my  bales  to  port  will  gain 
in  vigor  and  value.  .  .  .  The  quinine  on  my  lands  seems 
inexhaustible.  In  twenty  years  I  shall  have  cut  the  last 
trees  and  then  the  first  will  have  grown  again." 

It  is  apparent  that  such  a  man  was  moved  to  take  part 



in  politics  not  through  hope  of  personal  gain  but  from  the 
highest  motives.  The  analogy  between  himself  and  the 
hero  of  his  great  poem,  Gonzalo  de  Oyon,  gives  it  an  added 

Though  the  author  spent  the  leisure  moments  of  ten 
years  upon  the  poem,  it  was  left  unfinished.  The  man- 
uscript of  a  large  part  was  destroyed  by  the  soldiers  who 
sacked  his  house.  Rewritten,  another  large  section  was  lost 
during  the  transport  of  some  of  Arboleda's  effects.  As  a 
result  of  its  fragmentary  state  and  the  conditions  under 
which  it  was  produced  the  whole  lacks  unity  of  conception 
both  of  character  and  action. 

The  foundation  is  a  legend  which  Arboleda  found  in  the 
local  history  of  his  native  Popayan.  Fleeing  from  the  fate 
of  those  involved  in  the  rebellion  of  Gonzalo  Pizarro  there 
came  to  New  Granada  one  Alvaro  de  Oyon.  Having 
gathered  a  band  of  malcontents  to  the  number  of  seventy- 
five,  they  planned  to  seize  the  city  of  Popayan,  thence  to 
march  on  Quito  and  Lima.  The  assault  took  place  in 
1552  but  with  disastrous  results  to  the  conspirators. 
Alvaro  was  killed. 

The  poet  gave  to  Alvaro  a  brother,  Gonzalo,  who  is  a  foil 
to  his  schemes  as  well  as  a  contrast  to  his  character.  The 
latter  is  represented  as  coming  to  Popayan  with  the  con- 
quistadores.  His  kind  heart  leads  him  to  intercede  for  the 
cacique  Puben  about  to  be  killed  by  the  Spaniards  so  that 
he  saves  the  Indian's  life.  Now  Fernando,  the  son  of  the 
Adelantado,  Sebastian  de  Benalcazar,  has  cast  eyes  upon 
the  cacique's  daughter,  Pubenza,  and  forces  her  to  marry 
him  in  order  to  save  her  father's  life  during  Gonzalo's 
absence.    A  few  years  later  Alvaro  de  Oyon  in  rebellion 


against  the  authorities  after  getting  auxiliaries  among  the 
savage  tribes,  marches  on  Popayan.  Gonzalo,  supposedly 
dead,  appears  at  the  fight  and  decides  it  in  favor  of  the 
royal  cause.  Fernando  in  jealousy  declares  Gonzalo  an 
outlaw  and  sets  a  price  on  his  head,  but  Pubenza  warns  him 
in  time  for  him  to  take  refuge  among  the  Indians.  Once 
more  Alvaro  de  Oyon  attacks  the  city  and  again  Gonzalo 
sallies  forth  in  its  defense.  In  the  night  the  brothers  en- 
gage in  single  combat,  but  recognizing  each  other  they  fall 
into  discussion  about  their  respective  behaviour.  A  truce 
follows.  During  this  the  unhappy  lovers  Gonzalo  and 
Pubenza  have  an  interview  at  which  they  are  surprised  by 
Fernando,  who  in  mad  jealous  rage  kills  his  children.  In 
the  form  of  a  specter  he  presents  himself  again  to  Gonzalo 
and  Pubenza  but  disappears  then  forever. 

The  fragments  break  off  here.  Report  has  it  that 
Arboleda  intended  to  have  Alvaro  desist  from  his  rebel- 
lious plans  at  the  solicitation  of  his  mother.  Of  this  there 
are  some  evidences  in  the  poem. 

The  style  and  language  of  the  poem  is  purely  Castilian 
with  only  a  slight  admixture  of  native  words  in  certain 
familiar  scenes.  The  narration  shows  the  author's  ac- 
quaintance with  both  the  Italian  poets  and  Byron  and 
like  the  Spanish  romanticists  he  preferred  to  write  in  a 
variety  of  meters. 

In  regard  to  the  application  of  the  poem  to  affairs  in 
Colombia,  the  words  of  Miguel  A.  Caro  ^  are  illuminating. 
"Putting  aside  the  improbability  of  the  conversation 
between  Gonzalo  and  Alvaro,  it  is  of  the  highest  interest 
because  it  has  natural  application  to  the  perpetual  struggle 
» Introduction  to  Poesias  de  Julio  ArboUda,  New  York,  1884. 


which  in  our  Spanish  America  is  sustained  by  the  broad 
genuine  patriotism  which  respects  tradition  and  loves 
national  unity  against  those  bastard  ambitions  which 
proclaim  liberty  but  demolish  whatever  exists.  The 
language  which  Arboleda  put  in  the  mouth  of  Alvaro 
is  historically  exact.  It  is  the  same  as  that  of  all  those 
rebels  and  political  dogmatists  of  colonial  times.  In  their 
turn  are  symbolized  in  Gonzalo  all  the  champions  and 
martyrs  of  political  and  religious  faith  in  our  country 
and  among  them  most  of  all  Julio  Arboleda." 

Whatever  may  have  been  the  sources  of  Arboleda's 
inspiration,  the  romantic  spirit  that  moved  other  Colom- 
bian poets  entered  the  country  by  way  of  Caracas,  ac- 
cording to  Rafael  Pombo.^  From  there  came  not  only 
the  works  of  Zorrilla  and  Espronceda  but  also  the  literary 
journals  containing  the  poems  of  Abigail  Lozano  and  J.  A. 
Maitin.  Their  most  important  effect  was  the  awakening 
of  an  interest  in  the  beauties  of  nature,  that  wonderful 
scenery  of  Colombia,  its  great  rivers,  its  magnificent 
cascades,  its  stupendous  mountains,  and  its  strange  and 
varied  flora.  The  falls  of  Tequendama  especially  became 
the  topic  of  literary  exercise. 

This  fall  though  with  less  volume  of  water  drops  four 
times  the  distance  of  Niagara,  about  four  hundred  and 
eighty  feet.  In  descending  the  water  strikes  a  ledge  of 
rock  and  rebounds,  then  drops  in  several  streams.  Much 
of  it  is  turned  to  vapor  which  ascends  and  when  gilded 
by  the  sunlight  the  iridescence  may  be  seen  in  Bogota 
five  leagues  away. 

Among  the  earliest  poems  of  Gregorio  Gutierrez  Gon- 
^  Introduction  to  Poesias  de  Gutierrez  Gonzalez, 


zaiez  (1826-72)  is  one  writtea  at  the  age  of  twenty  with 
the  title  Al  Salto  del  Tequendama.  That  it  was  not  con- 
ceived wholly  in  the  romantic  mood  is  shown  by  a  quota- 
tion from  Andres  Bello  which  serves  as  a  sort  of  sub-title, 
referring  to  the  river  Magdalena  and  this  fall.  The  great 
master's  influence  becomes  again  apparent  in  Gutierrez 
Gonzalez'  longest  and  most  famous  poem  Sohre  el  Cultivo 
del  Maiz  en  Antioquia,  1866.  Written  in  quatrains  it 
depicted  in  a  lively  and  poetic  style  scenes  of  agricultural 
labor  in  the  author's  native  province;  and  was  accom- 
panied by  a  glossary  of  terms  peculiar  to  that  country. 
The  poem  opens  with  a  description  of  the  clearing  of  a 
piece  of  land  by  a  gang  of  thirty  laborers.  The  poet, 
more  attentive  to  the  landscape  than  they,  sees  many 
things  which  he  describes  to  the  reader;  and  in  the  four 
sections  of  the  poem  takes  him  through  the  various  tasks 
required  before  the  final  storing  of  the  grain. 

The  poet  belonged,  however,  wholly  to  the  romantic 
type.  Sent  away  from  home  to  school  in  Bogota  he  began 
writing  verses  at  the  age  of  eighteen.  He  was  gifted  with 
extraordinary  ability  in  improvising,  with  which  he  used 
to  amuse  his  schoolmates.  To  this  fact  is  due  perhaps  the 
peculiar  quality  of  his  lines  that  made  him  the  popular 
poet  of  Colombia,  and  his  pen  name  "Antioco"  a  house- 
hold word.  Even  illiterate  persons  knew  his  poems  by 

In  his  life  too  he  was  a  true  romantic.  When  not  quite 
twenty  he  fell  so  violently  in  love  at  first  sight  with  a 
young  lady  that  when  she  passed  near  him  he  became 
so  faint  that  he  had  to  be  supported  by  his  companions. 
He  consulted  a  physician  on  the  disorders  of  his  heart 


and  this  worthy  told  him  to  go  home  and  prepare  to  die. 
He  went  home  but  not  before  he  chided  in  verse  the  beauty 
whose  "barbarous  scorn  had  opened  for  him  the  last 
dwelling,"  and  though  for  her  he  descended  to  the  sepul- 
cher,  he  would  never  receive  "even  one  tear  from  her  di- 
vine eyes." 

The  mournful  tone  did  not  long  predominate.  Soon 
thereafter  he  married  the  Julia  who  then  appeared  in  his 
lines  as  the  source  of  the  joy  which  filled  his  life.  After 
ten  years  of  matrimony  in  reply  to  the  question  of  a 
friend  why  he  no  longer  sang,  he  wrote  those  verses  on  his 
happiness  comparing  himself  to  the  dove  that  in  the  noon- 
day heat  attends  silent  but  happy  on  his  beloved  in  the 
nest;  happiness,  moreover,  resembles  the  morning-glory 
that  blooms  in  the  shade  but  withers  in  the  sunlight. 

In  his  material  fortunes  he  was  not  so  happy.  Though 
he  was  bom  wealthy,  he  became  involved  in  the  civil  wars 
of  i860  and  62,  and  his  property  was  swept  away.  After 
the  restoration  of  peace  he  was  not  successful  in  his  busi- 
ness enterprises.  Besides  he  had  eight  children  to  support. 
His  discouragement  was  expressed  all  too  plaintively  in 
the  verses  addressed  to  various  friends  and  to  his  wife 
during  his  last  years.  The  evident  sincerity  of  these  poems 
confirms  one  in  the  opinion  that  Gutierrez  Gonzalez* 
wide  popularity  is  due  to  the  predominance  of  that  quality 
in  his  work.    Therein  lies  its  firm  appeal. 

Less  popular  were  the  poems  of  J.  J.  Ortiz,  and  much 
less  numerous  though  he  lived  to  be  nearly  seventy-eight 
years  old.  To  his  romanticism  he  joined  a  certain  classical 
finish  for  which  reason  Menendez  y  Pelayo  reckoned  one 
of  his  poems,  Los  Colonos  "one  of  the  finest  jewels  of 


American  poetry; — descriptive  and  lyrical  at  the  same 
time."  In  this  gem  the  poet  represents  himself  on  his 
horse  galloping  to  the  distant  city.  His  imagination 
carries  him  back  to  the  time  of  the  conquistadores  who 
first  planted  the  cross  on  that  spot  to  the  amazement 
of  the  aborigines.  Then  he  invites  the  Muse  to  listen 
to  the  resounding  blows  of  the  pioneers'  axes  as  they  clear 
the  forest  and  build  their  homes;  to  watch  the  bull  breaking 
the  black  soil  to  receive  the  grain  brought  from  beyond 
the  seas;  to  observe  the  other  domestic  animals;  to  con- 
sider the  Spanish  woman  who  brought  with  her  as  a  re- 
minder of  her  homeland  the  seeds  of  the  flowers  whose 
beauty  and  fragrance  now  delight  the  senses;  to  admire, 
when  the  bell  calls  to  prayer,  the  holy  ardor  of  Christ's 
disciples  who  have  penetrated  the  most  distant  parts  of 
the  new  world. 

But,  though  the  great  Spanish  critic  may  have  admired 
Ortiz'  descriptive  verses,  his  countrymen  preferred  those 
with  the  Tyrtaean  note.  It  is  related  that  one  evening  he 
nearly  started  a  riot  by  the  recitation  of  his  stirring  lines. 
The  special  object  of  his  admiration  was  Bolivar.  In  his 
boyhood  he  had  seen  the  great  man  and  had  been  a  childish 
witness  of  the  armies  that  fought  the  battle  of  Boyaca 
in  his  native  province.  To  that  battle  he  dedicated  an 
ode  which  for  patriotic  inspiration  will  bear  comparison 
with  Olmedo's  verses.  When  at  seventy  years  of  age 
Ortiz  was  one  of  the  few  living  contemporaries  of  that 
victory,  he  wrote  his  greatest  ode  Colombia  y  Espana  in 
which  he  compares  Columbus  and  Bolivar.  If  the  one 
discovered  a  world  the  other  freed  it  from  the  yoke  of 
tyranny.    The  memory  of  the  champion  of  liberty  gives 


consolation  to  the  poet  in  the  midst  of  the  civil  discords 
in  which  he  lives. 

Ortiz'  influence  as  a  man,  apart  from  his  poems,  was 
considerable.  He  opened  a  school  in  1852  that  became  a 
center  for  the  cherishing  of  literature  and  culture.  Four 
years  later  he  successfully  promoted  the  establishment 
of  a  literary  society.  El  Liceo  Granadino.  He  also  took 
part  in  the  protest  against  the  expulsion  of  the  Jesuits, 
that  event  which  stirred  Colombian  society  to  its  very 
depths  in  1863.  A  pamphlet  of  his  on  this  topic  was  sold 
in  the  unprecedented  quantity  of  four  thousand  copies  in 
Bogota.  Throughout  his  long  life  as  a  journalist  and 
educator,  his  own  writings  and  the  editing  of  those  of 
others,  such  as  the  poems  of  J.  E.  Caro  and  the  revolu- 
tionary Vargas  Tejada  and  the  compilation  of  school 
textbooks  in  literature  kept  his  name  ever  before  the 

The  year  1854  may  be  taken  to  fix  the  period  of  greatest 
literary  activity  in  Colombia.  Poetry  did  not  alone  claim 
attention  in  this  decade,  but  there  were  representations 
of  original  dramas  and  an  important  development  in  the 
publication  of  Hterary  journals.  The  latter  opened  a 
field  for  the  production  of  novels  and  tales. 

Of  dramas  the  authors  most  worthy  of  mention  were 
the  brothers  Felipe  and  Santiago  Perez,  Jose  Caicedo 
Rojas,  and  Jose  M.  Samper.  Their  writings,  however, 
were  not  limited  to  the  theater  but  appeared  in  both  prose 
and  verse  in  periodicals  or  daily  papers.  Felipe  Perez 
being  interested  in  the  early  history  of  South  America 
dramatized  the  story  of  Gonzalo  Pizarro  in  five  acts,  and 
retold  as  tales  the  story  of  both  Pizarros  and  that  of 


Atahualpa.  Santiago  Perez,  who  later  became  president 
of  the  republic  in  1874,  turned  to  European  history  for 
the  matter  of  his  historical  dramas  Jacobo  Molay  and  El 
Castillo  de  Berkley  and  his  legend  Leonor.  Spanish  history 
on  the  other  hand  was  the  inspiration  of  Miguel  Cervantes 
and  Celos,  amor  y  amhicion  by  J.  Caicedo  Rojas  and  of 
his  historical  romance  Don  Alvaro.  Caicedo  Rojas  also 
published  a  volume  of  descriptive  articles  of  manners, 
Apuntes  de  Rancheria,  which  met  with  some  success. 

Jose  Maria  Samper  (1828-98)  devoted  his  attention 
more  to  his  native  country.  He  is  perhaps  Colombia's 
most  prolific  writer  in  many  lines  of  literary  endeavor. 
Seven  of  his  dramatical  pieces  were  produced  in  Bogota 
in  the  years  1856  and  57.  Of  these  the  most  successful 
was  Un  Alcalde  a  la  antigua  y  Dos  Primos  a  la  moderna, 
a  comedy  of  national  manners.  In  1858  Samper  went 
to  Europe  in  a  diplomatic  capacity  where  he  remained 
five  years,  returning  to  Colombia  after  a  visit  in  Lima. 
Many  years  later  he  put  into  a  novel,  Los  Claveles  de 
Julia,  his  memories  of  that  capital.  After  his  return  to 
Bogota  he  wrote  a  novel  about  every  four  years,  beginning 
with  Martin  Florez,  1866.  The  dramatic  element  and 
the  dialogue  is  the  strongest  part  of  his  tales  as  the  de- 
scription of  places  and  persons  is  prolix.  To  the  study 
of  Colombian  history  Samper  performed  a  real  service 
by  publishing  a  series  of  sketches  of  notable  compatriots. 
Toward  the  end  of  his  life  he  made  quite  a  sensation  by 
publicly  renouncing  his  views  as  a  freethinker  and  em- 
bracing Catholicism.  The  book  which  he  made  out  of 
his  profession,  Historia  de  una  Alma,  is  packed  with  in- 
teresting  personal    and    social   reminiscences.     Samper's 


journalistic  work  was  perhaps  the  most  extensive  of  his 
contemporaries.  At  one  time  he  carried  on  a  periodical 
with  the  sole  assistance  of  his  talented  wife,  Dona  Soledad 

To  her  we  owe  an  interesting  account  of  the  methods 
employed  by  the  contributors  to  the  Mosaico,  the  most 
important  literary  journal  of  the  golden  decade  of  the 
fifties.  Beside  her  husband  and  Caicedo  Rojas,  they  were 
Jose  Joaquin  Borda  (1835-78),  to  whose  constant  activity 
in  promoting  literary  magazines  Colombia  remains  in  debt; 
Ricardo  Carrasquilla  (1827-87),  schoolmaster  and  poet; 
Eugenio  Diaz  (1804-61),  writer  of  realistic  tales;  and  J.  M. 
Vergara  y  Vergara  (1831-72),  lover  of  letters.  She  makes 
the  very  illuminating  remark,  "We  edited  the  Mosaico 
to  amuse  ourselves  without  considering  the  public."  But 
the  magazine  to  which  she  contributed  this  article.  El 
Papel  Periodico  Ilustrado,  beginning  publication  in  1881, 
did  take  the  public  very  much  into  consideration  because 
it  was  the  first  illustrated  periodical  on  an  elaborate 
scale,  printed  in  Colombia. 

In  regard  to  Jose  Maria  Vergara  y  Vergara  it  has  been 
said  that,  "whoever  makes  a  formal  study  of  Colombian 
letters  will  find  his  name  somehow  connected  with  most 
of  the  publications  of  his  epoch  and  will  see  his  enthusiasm 
for  stimulating  and  sustaining  the  literary  aspirations  of 
friends  and  strangers."  ^  Of  his  own  writings  the  most 
important  is  his  Historia  de  la  Literatura  en  Nueva  Granada 
desde  la  conquista  hasta  la  independenciay  1^^8-1820,  pub- 
lished in  1867.  As  a  compiler  of  poems  he  rendered  a 
service  in  La  Lira  granadina,  coleccioii  de  poesias  nacion- 
^  I.  Laverde  Amaya,  Apuntes  sobre  Bibliografia  colombiana. 


ales.  His  own  verses,  though  he  wrote  with  great  ease 
and  was  famous  as  an  improviser,  were  slight.  Little 
more  can  be  said  of  the  tale,  Olivos  y  Aceitunas,  Todos 
son  unos. 

But  he  discovered  the  talent  of  Eugenio  Diaz,  the  most 
realistic  of  Colombian  novelists  and  writers  of  articles  on 
manners.  Bom  in  1804,  he  was  over  forty  years  of  age 
before  he  began  to  write.  Having  been  a  small  farmer 
he  brought  to  his  work  an  intimate  knowledge  of  the 
types  that  he  depicted.  His  longest  tale,  a  real  master- 
piece of  characterization,  was  Manuela.  The  heroine 
is  the  keeper  of  a  small  provision  store  through  which 
pass  all  the  interesting  individuals  of  the  town  and  where 
their  affairs  are  thoroughly  discussed. 

Vergara,  on  his  trip  to  Europe,  made  numerous  friends 
and  brought  back  to  Bogota  authorization  for  himself, 
Jose  Maria  Marroquin,  and  Miguel  Antonio  Caro  to  form 
an  Academy  allied  to  the  Spanish  Academy.  Marroquin 
was  a  popular  schoolmaster,  author  of  works  on  Castilian 
spelling,  and  a  poet  whose  verses  were  favorites  on  account 
of  their  humor.  M.  A.  Caro  (i  843-1909),  though  but 
twenty-seven  years  of  age  at  the  time,  was  noted  for  his 
learning.  He  was  the  oldest  son  of  J.  E.  Caro  to  whose 
famous  poem  blessing  his  firstborn  before  birth  we 
have  already  alluded.  The  father,  had  he  lived,  would 
not  have  been  disappointed  in  the  son  for  he  became 
Colombia's  most  learned  man  and  president  of  the  re- 
public. His  greatest  service  to  Colombian  letters  was 
the  preparation  of  an  edition  of  Arboleda's  poems  which 
included  the  inedited  epic  Gonzalo  de  Oyon.  Miguel 
A.  Caro's  own  poems  were  somewhat  coldly  classical  in 


form  and  idea.  Nevertheless  two  of  them  are  well  known 
and  liked,  La  Vuelta  a  la  Patria  and  A  la  Estatua  del 
Libertador.  The  latter  is  a  presentation  of  the  moral 
character  of  Bolivar,  accomplished  in  part  by  incorporat- 
ing in  the  poem  certain  historical  sayings  of  the  Liberator, 
such  as: — "Who  knows  whether  I  have  ploughed  on  the 
sea  and  built  on  the  wind,'*  and,  "Perhaps  the  curses  of 
a  hundred  generations  will  fall  on  me,  unfortunate  author 
of  so  many  ills!"  These  sublime  doubts,  says  the  poet, 
have  been  expressed  by  the  sculptor  who  wrought  the 
great  statue  of  the  Liberator  in  the  main  square  of  Bogota. 

The  Vuelta  a  la  Patria  expresses  in  sweetly  melancholy 
fashion  the  idea  that  the  sight  of  his  old  home  does  not 
satisfy  the  longings  of  the  pilgrim  because  his  true  home 
lies  beyond  the  term  of  this  life.  The  Spanish  critic 
Valera  thinks  that,  "Everything  in  this  composition,  in 
which  there  are  more  sentiments  and  ideas  than  words, 
make  it  a  perfect  model  of  sentimental  poetry  in  any 
language."  ^ 

Reference  has  been  made  to  Ricardo  Carrasquilla.  He 
was  a  well-beloved  schoolmaster  who  delighted  his  pupils 
by  jocose  verses  on  homely  topics.  His  lines  on  Las 
Fiestas  en  Bogota  are  called  "a  real  photograph  of  what 
our  popular  festivals  are."  But  more  important  for  his 
contemporaries  were  such  tracts  on  the  religious  question 
as  Sofismas  anti-catolicos  vistos  con  microscopio. 

The  mention  of  writings  of  this  character  would  seem 

to  lie  outside  our  limits,  but  in  studying  the  history  of 

Colombia  whether  literary  or  political,  it  is  impossible 

to  ignore  the  religious  question.     The  liberal  party  that 

*  J.  Valera,  Cartas  americanas. 

COLOMBIA  293 ' 

came  into  power  in  1849  were  dominated  by  the  theories 
of  French  freethinkers.  Though  their  action  in  expelling 
the  Jesuits  was  resented  and  they  fell  from  power,  they 
were  successful  in  1861  in  setting  up  a  new  constitution 
which  enabled  them  to  disestablish  the  Church,  disfran- 
chise the  clergy,  and  confiscate  the  property  of  the  con- 
vents. It  is  natural  then  that  such  profound  changes 
emanating  from  radical  principles  should  have  echoes 
in  literature  which  is  not  in  itself  controversial.  Hence 
arises  the  significance  of  the  great  amount  of  religious 

As  a  controversialist  for  the  conservatives  nobody  was 
more  active  than  the  Manuel  Maria  Madiedo  (1817- 
00),  whose  writings  include  whole  volumes  on  social 
science,  logic  and  law.  A  very  learned  man  and  acquainted 
with  the  whole  range  of  European  philosophy,  he  devoted 
his  intelligence  to  the  defense  of  the  Christian  religion. 
Many  of  the  poems  in  his  volume  of  collected  verse  pub- 
lished in  1859  preach  the  mission  of  Christ.  As  a  poet, 
however,  Madiedo  is  more  generally  known  for  his  lines 
descriptive  of  the  great  river  Magdalena,  "a  picture 
taken  from  nature,  where  primitive  man  rules,  free  and 
strong,  but  struggling  with  natural  forces  terribly  power- 
ful, beautiful,  and  rebellious."  With  equal  enthusiasm 
Madiedo  also  depicted  his  native  city  Cartagena  and  the 
ocean  before  her  walls.  A  series  of  poems  with  strongly 
patriotic  note  on  Bolivar,  Sucre,  Ayacucho,  and  America 
likewise  came  from  his  pen.  Dramas  he  wrote  in  his  youth, 
and  at  the  age  of  nineteen  had  a  tragedy,  entitled  Lucrecia 
0  Roma  lihre,  produced  in  Bogota.  To  the  end  of  his 
long  life  he  contributed  to  the  press  of  Colombia. 


Contrasted  with  Madiedo  may  be  Rafael  Nunez  (1825- 
94),  a  man  of  action  and  yet  a  poet.  For  twenty  years 
he  dominated  the  political  situation  in  Colombia,  being 
at  times  both  president  and  dictator.  As  a  young  man 
he  was  the  secretary  of  General  Mosquera,  the  leader  of 
the  liberal  party  and  dictator  in  1861.  From  this  period 
dates  Nunez'  poem  with  the  title  dQue  sais-je?,  one  of  the 
most  skeptical  bits  of  verse  ever  written.  Everywhere 
the  poet  finds  the  good  and  the  bad  so  inextricably  mingled 
that  he  cannot  separate  them.  Every  object  in  the  world 
has  its  good  and  its  evil  side.  Sometimes  innocence  and 
candor  are  malignity,  prudence  is  daring,  impiety  piety. 
In  another  skeptical  poem  Nuiiez  compares  himself  with 
the  Dead  Sea;  his  illusions  and  pleasures  are  the  cities 
which  God  destroyed. 

From  this  attitude  of  mind  Nunez  traveled  very  far 
before  his  death.  Sent  to  England  as  Colombian  consul 
in  Liverpool,  he  absorbed  many  English  ideas  regarding 
the  functions  of  government.  In  1878  he  became  President 
of  the  Senate  and  two  years  later  President  of  Colombia. 
He  adapted  his  English  ideas  to  the  conditions  of  his 
country.  His  ideal  seemed  to  be  an  oligarchy  as  set  forth 
in  his  book  La  Reforma  politica  en  Colombia.  His  model 
was  Moses  if  we  can  trust  his  poem  on  the  Hebrew  law- 
giver. At  any  rate,  he  brought  about  many  needed  re- 
forms in  Colombia  laid  waste  by  anarchy.  To  combat 
it,  he  protected  the  clergy,  restored  them  to  the  rights 
of  which  his  own  liberal  party  had  deprived  them  and 
ordered  religion  to  be  taught  in  the  schools  for  the  pur- 
pose of  inculcating  respect  for  authority.  The  civil  power 
was  strengthened  by  his  new  constitution  of  1885,  for  the 


term  of  office  for  the  president  was  increased  to  six  years. 
With  vice  presidents  of  his  own  creation,  he  then  held 
the  position  till  his  death. 

While  Nunez'  philosophical  verses  reveal  him  as  a 
skeptic,  the  poems  of  Diego  Fallon  (1834-190!;),  present 
the  ancient  faith  in  accord  with  modem  geological  knowl- 
edge. There  is  something  of  the  Celtic  imagination,  due 
undoubtedly  to  his  parentage,  in  the  originality  of  his  con- 
ceptions. Perhaps  also  his  English  education  had  its 
influence  just  as  his  expert  attainments  as  a  musician  are 
revealed  in  the  rhythmical  beauty  of  his  lines.  At  once 
the  most  striking  and  original  of  his  poems  is  Las  Rocas  de 
Suesca.  The  poet  finds  himself  among  these  gigantic 
rocks  overhearing  the  confidences  of  Miocene  and  Pliocene 
till  their  chatter  is  interrupted  by  Siluria  the  elder.  She 
at  his  request  relates  her  own  creation.  Another  poem, 
J  la  Luna,  depicts  the  beauty  of  the  tropical  moonlight  on 
the  slope  of  the  Andes.  The  silence  leads  him  to  think 
of  God,  to  feel  that  his  soul  is  merely  a  prisoner  of  the 
flesh,  while  the  moon  reminds  him  of  its  divine  mission. 
Fallon's  skill  in  difficult  and  intricate  meter  is  displayed 
in  La  Palma  del  Desierto,  in  which  he  philosophizes  about 
the  barren  desert  and  the  strange  power  of  the  palm  tree 
to  withstand  the  heat  of  the  sun  and  the  tree's  service 
to  man.  While  the  quantity  of  Fallon's  verses  is  not 
great,  their  quality  places  him  in  the  front  rank  of  Colom- 
bian poets. 

And  the  main  body  of  Colombian  poets  with  an  individ- 
ual note  is  fairly  numerous.  Joaquin  Pablo  Posada 
(1825-80),  for  example,  had  an  astounding  facility  in 
handling  language,  though  his  compositions  were  limited 


to  jocose  or  satirical  matter.  Even  on  his  deathbed  he 
dictated  as  gay  a  parting  letter  in  verse  to  a  friend  as  any 
that  he  had  ever  written  when  begging  for  a  little  loan  of 
money  to  tide  him  over  a  hard  place.  A  poet  who  knew 
how  to  hit  the  popular  taste  was  Jose  Maria  Pinzon  Rico. 
His  erotic  tendencies  appear  in  the  poem  usually  given  in 
anthologies  El  Despertar  de  Addn  though  the  intention 
of  the  verses  is  praise  of  God.  A  very  prolific  versifier 
was  Cesar  Conto  (1836-91).  His  original  pieces  are  not 
so  valuable  as  his  translations  from  German  and  English. 
Of  the  latter  the  most  praiseworthy  is  perhaps  Long- 
fellow's Psalm  of  Life.  For  religious  intensity  and  force 
the  lines  of  Mario  Valenzuela,  a  member  of  the  Society  of 
Jesus,  should  be  mentioned.  An  attractive  poem,  Tu 
triunfastey  describes  the  appearance  of  a  beautiful  woman 
riding  on  horseback,  and  again  at  a  dancing  party;  on 
neither  occasion,  however,  did  she  make  an  impression  on 
the  writer's  heart:  but  when  he  saw  her  as  a  sister  of 
charity  ministering  to  the  sick,  he  quite  succumbed. 

A  leader  of  this  flight  of  poets,  surpassing  them,  both 
in  versatility  and  in  technical  skill,  was  Rafael  Pombo 
(i 833-191 2).  He  began  his  literary  career  at  the  age  of 
twenty  by  a  mystification  of  the  public  in  giving  out  a 
series  of  verses  entitled  Mi  Amor  signed  "  Edda,"  which 
led  readers  to  believe  that  they  were  perusing  the  erotic 
confessions  of  a  lovesick  damsel.  In  1854  he  was  sent  to 
New  York  as  secretary  of  the  Colombian  legation  where  he 
remained  five  years.  He  so  successfully  mastered  the 
English  language  that  poems  of  his  in  English  were  pub- 
lished by  Bryant  in  the  New  York  Evening  Post.  Of  his 
sojourn  his  poems  have  many  recollections.     Las  Norte- 


americanas  en  Broadway  reveals  the  young  man  beneath 
the  portico  of  the  Saint  Nicolas  Hotel  admiring  the 
throng  of  passing  beauties.  Though  he  pays  his  com- 
pliments to  the  various  Spanish-American  types,  he  is  be- 
witched by  the  brilliance  of  the  New  Yorkers'  eyes  and  the 
crimson  of  their  cheeks.  But  "woe  to  him  who  sees  the 
fascinating  army!"  Their  hearts,  like  the  swirling  water 
of  Niagara,  are  cruel,  insatiable  and  cold.  On  his  sen- 
sitive soul  the  sudden  death  of  a  young  girl,  Elvira  Tracy, 
with  whom  he  had  been  at  church,  made  such  an  impression 
that  his  poem  on  her  last  words,  "The  mass  is  over;  come, 
come,  let  us  go  home!"  possesses  unusual  intensity  of 
feeling.  For  that  reason  it  is  a  classic  expression  of  the 
uncertainty  of  human  life. 

Of  totally  different  character  are  Cuentos  pintados  and 
Cuentos  morales,  many  of  which  are  said  to  be  known  by 
heart  by  children.  After  his  return  to  Colombia,  Pombo 
was  interested  for  several  years  in  popular  education  and 
in  the  publication  of  an  educational  journal.  Of  a  popular 
type  also  are  a  series  of  quatrains  written  to  be  sung  to 
the  music  of  the  national  air.  El  Bambuco. 

About  this  song,  J.  M.  Samper  has  written  the  follow- 
ing: "Nothing  more  national  and  patriotic  than  this 
melody  which  has  for  authors  all  Colombians:  it  vibrates 
as  the  echo  of  millions  of  accents,  it  laments  with  all 
lamentations,  it  laughs  with  all  the  laughter  of  the  coun- 
try. It  is  the  evocation  of  our  moonlit  nights  and  our 
days  of  happiness.  It  is  the  companion  that  animates 
our  weddings,  that  enlivens  our  sentimental  ceremonies. 
It  is  the  soul  of  our  people  turned  into  melody." 

Pombo's  maturer  lines  belong  to  the  elegiac  type,  and 


are  written  with  great  depth  of  feeHng.  A  rather  long 
poem,  Angelina,  after  relating  the  death  of  a  young  girl 
of  fifteen  with  emphasis  on  the  grief  of  her  mother  and 
little  brother,  passes  to  reflections  on  love  and  grief.  In 
them  the  poet  finds  symbolized  the  struggle  between  our 
higher  and  lower  natures.  In  "love  and  grief,  there  is 
Christ,  there  is  God."  When  Pombo  revisited  the  United 
States  and  again  stood  before  the  falls  of  Niagara,  he  was 
stirred  to  write  some  verses  in  "contemplation."  The 
greatness  of  God  is  the  main  thought  with  which  the 
sight  inspires  him.  When  he  seeks  for  the  terror  felt  by 
the  Cuban  poet  Heredia,  he  finds  it  not;  for  the  very  worst 
that  Nature  can  do  to  human  kind,  to  serve  for  a  tomb, 
is  in  reality  a  good.  On  the  contrary,  man  is  the  monster 
who  disturbs  this  earthly  paradise.  As  for  the  falling 
waters,  though  they  send  forth  a  hymn  of  strength  and 
life,  his  soul  has  no  enthusiasm  left  to  sing  them  because 
life  is  a  sarcasm. 

Poets  of  a  younger  generation  than  Pombo,  such  as 
Antonio  Gomez  Restrepo  (b.  1869),  Diego  Uribe  (b. 
1867),  Joaquin  Gonzalez  Camargo  (b.  1865),  naturally 
show  the  influence  of  contemporary  literature.  To  the 
latter  J.  Valera  paid  the  unusual  compliment  of  saying 
that  his  becquerista  verses  pleased  him  even  better  than 
those  of  Becquer  or  Heine. 

No  account  of  Colombian  literature  would  be  com- 
plete without  mention  of  a  few  of  the  many  female  poets 
and  writers  who  have  graced  their  country.  Their  promi- 
nence is  partly  due  to  the  fact  that  in  the  population  of 
Colombia  women  greatly  outnumber  men,  in  some  towns, 
according  to  a  recent  census,  in  the  proportion  of  three 


men  to  four  women,  as  a  result  of  the  numerous  civil  wars 
which  have  ravaged  the  republic.  The  Christian  resigna- 
tion required  of  women  in  such  a  state  of  affairs  is  clearly 
reflected  in  their  verses. 

For  the  religious  tone  of  her  poems  expressed  in  fluent 
language  Dona  Silveria  Espinosa  de  Rendon  (?-i886), 
was  one  of  the  first  to  attract  attention.  Though  she 
essayed  with  some  success  the  patriotic  lyric,  the  majority 
of  her  verses  celebrate  the  glories  of  the  Cross,  the  virtues 
of  Mary  and  the  joys  of  friendship. 

In  descriptive  poetry  too,  so  far  as  it  deals  with  the 
famous  falls  of  the  Tequendama,  a  woman,  in  Valera's 
opinion,  has  excelled  her  numerous  competitors  both 
native  and  foreign.  Therefore,  Doiia  Agripina  Montes 
del  Valle  should  be  acclaimed  the  "Muse  of  the  Tequen- 
dama." The  superiority  of  her  lines  arises  not  alone  from 
the  wealth  of  color  and  the  minuteness  of  the  description 
but  from  the  fact  that  at  the  background  of  the  picture 
the  reader  sees  the  poetess  herself.  "The  depression  which 
possesses  her  spirit  in  the  presence  of  such  a  grand  scene 
makes  one  form  a  better  conception  of  its  magnificence." 
Dofia  Agripina  gathered  poetic  laurels  also  outside  of 
Colombia,  for  she  won  a  gold  medal  for  a  poem  offered  in 
a  Chilean  competition  in  1872. 

The  theme  of  love  treated  with  deep  emotion  and  sin- 
cerity fills  the  verses  of  Dona  Mercedes  Alvarez  de  Florez 
(b.  1859).  They  render  the  story  of  her  courtship  and 
marriage  to  Leonidas  Florez  (1859-87),  himself  a  poet. 
As  they  were  poor,  their  parents  opposed  their  union. 
After  their  marriage,  she  has  given  a  poetic  record  of  her 
moods.    Matrimony  has  chains,  yes;  but  they  are  golden, 


let  her  kiss  them.  At  times  she  is  jealous  of  her  husband 
for  she  knows  he  lies  awake  at  night,  with  thoughts  which 
are  not  of  her  but  of  his  ambition.  Seek  not  riches,  she 
urges  him,  let  her  whisperings  suffice  at  night.  When  he 
fell  sick  at  the  age  of  twenty-four,  her  heart  cries  out  that 
they  are  too  young  to  separate.  He  should  struggle 
against  death  by  drawing  strength  from  her  kisses.  To 
God  she  prays  not  to  "snatch  from  my  heaven  this  bright 
star  which  thine  does  not  need!  Listen.  In  his  delirium, 
he  says  that  he  loves  me  so  much,  that  he  does  not  wish 
to  die!" 

Of  Doiia  Soledad  Acosta  de  Samper  (1831-1913),  wife 
of  J.  M.  Samper,  mention  has  already  been  made.  Her 
literary  interests  covered  many  fields  though  her  specialty 
was  the  historical  or  biographical  article,  for  which  she 
inherited  a  natural  aptitude  from  her  father,  the  historian 
Joaquin  Acosta.  Her  most  original  effort  was  the  pub- 
lication of  a  periodical  for  women.  La  Mujer,  which  ap- 
peared  from  1878  to  1881. 
r  'in  the  matter  of  novels  it  has  fallen  to  the  fortune  of 
Colombia  to  send  forth  the  most  widely  read  work  of 
fiction  of  any  written  by  a  Spanish  American,  one  of  the 
very  few  which  have  been  translated  into  French  and 
English,  the  idyllic  romance,  Maria  by  Jorge  Isaacs. 
Perhaps  its  popularity  proves  it  to  be  the  representative 
Spanish-American  novel.  At  any  rate  it  presents  an  un- 
matched picture  of  home  Hfe  in  Colombia.  Its  characters 
are  true  to  life.  Its  landscapes  exist  in  the  valley  of  the 
Cauca  where  its  author  was  born. 

The  plot  is  simple.     Efrain,  a  boy  of  twenty,  returns 
home  after  an  absence  of  several  years.     He  finds  that 


Maria,  his  father's  ward  and  the  playmate  of  his  child- 
hood, is  now  in  the  first  beauty  of  young  womanhood  at 
fifteen.  They  fall  in  love.  The  father,  not  wholly  op- 
posed to  the  match,  wishes  the  boy  to  delay  marriage, 
first,  that  he  may  study  medicine  in  Europe,  and  second, 
because  Maria  has  shown  symptoms  of  epilepsy,  a  dis- 
ease of  which  her  mother  died.  Efrain  yields  to  his 
father's  desires  and  prepares  to  leave  for  Europe. 
Before  his  departure,  however,  Maria  and  he  are  be- 
trothed. After  he  is  gone,  Maria's  malady  becomes 
worse  and  she  imagines  that  only  his  return  will  save;:? 
her  life.  Efrain  is  sent  for,  but  when  he  reaches  h^pt{e 
Maria  is  dead.  ^^ 

The  interest  lies  in  the  incidents  by  which  the  characters 
of  the  leading  personages  are  revealed  and  in  the  details 
of  home  life  in  the  mountains  of  Colombia.  What  in- 
tensity of  passion  is  displayed  over  trifles!  Efrain,  for 
example,  had  brought  home  some  mountain  lilies  as  a 
present  to  Maria,  but  when  he  notices  that  she  has  neg- 
lected to  observe  her  custom  of  placing  fresh  flowers  in 
his  room  during  his  absence,  he  petulantly  throws  his 
intended  gift  out  of  the  window.  Maria,  finding  the 
flowers,  understands  and  makes  amends  by  wearing  one 
of  the  lilies  to  the  evening  meal.  It  is  not  surprising  then, 
that  the  same  Efrain  should  urge  his  horse  at  the  risk  of 
his  own  life  into  a  stream  swollen  with  tropical  rain,  as 
he  rides  three  leagues  through  the  night  to  get  a  physician 
to  attend  Maria. 

Strange  details  of  real  life  constantly  entertain  and 
charm  the  reader.  Though  Efrain's  father  is  the  pro- 
prietor of  a  vast  estate,  he  is  not  unwilling  to  attend  the 


wedding  of  a  negro  slave  and  dance  with  the  bride.  When 
Efrain  visits  the  home  of  a  certain  white  tenant,  he  is 
honored  by  being  provided  with  the  only  knife  and  fork 
in  the  house,  and  again  at  his  morning  ablutions  by  the 
zealous  production  from  its  precious  box  of  the  family's 
one  treasured  towel.  A  striking  episode  is  a  jaguar  hunt, 
in  which  Efrain's  English  cartridges  and  unerring  aim 
save  the  life  of  the  mountaineer  Braulio.  This  man  is 
something  of  a  wag,  for  when  a  young  visitor  from  the 
city  makes  fun  of  his  dogs,  Braulio  takes  revenge  in  an 
original  manner.  He  sees  to  it  that  there  are  no  bullets 
in  the  smarty's  gun  and  then  drives  a  fine  buck  by  his 
stand  in  the  hunt.  The  callow  youth  is  mortified  to  miss 
so  easy  a  shot  before  his  friends.  In  Efrain's  home,  the 
details  of  the  daily  routine  in  which  appear  his  father,  his 
mother,  his  sister  Emma,  and  Maria  form  an  exquisite 
idyllic  picture.  To  relate  them  all  would,  in  the  words 
of  Vergara  in  his  preface  to  the  first  edition  of  1867, 
"necessitate  writing  another  Maria.''* 
Jl^  The  author  of  this  romance,  Jorge  Isaacs  (1837-95)  was 
'  the  son  of  an  English  Jew  domiciled  in  Cali  in  the  valley 
of  the  Cauca.  It  was  in  this  region  that  the  civil  war  of 
1862  raged  with  special  intensity.  In  consequence  of  it 
his  property  gone  and  left  an  orphan,  the  young  man 
emigrated  to  Bogota.  In  1865  he  published  a  volume  of 
verses  which  received  more  attention  after  the  appearance 
of  Maria,  1867.  The  success  of  the  novel  was  immediate. 
His  reward  was  an  appointment  to  a  diplomatic  post  in 
Chile  where  his  fame  as  a  literary  man  assisted  in  prepar- 
ing for  him  a  warm  welcome.  In  time  political  changes 
at  home  brought  about  his  retirement.    Again  in  Bogota 


he  was  not  successful  in  business,  and  the  latter  years  of 
his  life  were  passed  in  great  want. 

Later  novels  in  Colombia  follow  the  example  of  Isaacs 
in  his  nationalistic  tendency,  though  few  deserve  mention. 
Frutosdemi  TiVrr^,  published  1896  byTomasCarrasquilla, 
is  a  fair  sample  of  the  type  consisting  of  a  series  of  sketches 
of  manners  strung  together  on  a  thin  plot. 

Of  greater  literary  value  is  Pax  by  Lorenzo  Marroquin 
which  recently  created  a  storm  of  indignation  because 
certain  politicians  believed  they  had  been  caricatured. 
At  any  rate  the  author  has  pilloried  the  plague  of  politics 
which  besets  Colombia.  The  personages  and  the  inci- 
dents of  the  novel  give  the  reader  an  unusual  insight  into 
the  character  of  a  perplexing  country. 

>f  scholars  Colombia  has  produced  several  of  whom 
she  may  well  be  proud.  The  most  important  historian 
is  Jose  Manuel  Restrepo  (1782-1863)  whose  Historia  de 
la  Revolucion  de  la  Republica  de  Colombia,  originally  pub- 
lished in  1827  and  enlarged  in  1858,  is  the  fascinating  nar- 
^rative  of  a  participant  and  eyewitness. 

J.  M.  Torres  Caicedo  deserves  the  praise  and  thanks 
of  everybody  interested  in  Spanish-American  literature. 
His  Ensayos  biogrdficos  y  de  Critica  literaria  in  three  vol- 
umes, 1863  and  1868,  was  the  first  attempt  to  treat  the 
whole  field  and  is  still  invaluable. 

The  name  of  Rufino  Jose  Cuervo  (1844-1911)  is  familiar 
to  many  otherwise  ignorant  of  Colombian  writers,  on 
account  of  his  services  to  the  grammatical  and  lexico- 
graphic studies  of  the  Spanish  language  given  to  the  world 
in  his  notes  to  Bello's  Grammar  and  in  his  Apuntaciones 
criticas  sobre  el  Lenguaje  bogotano.    The  latter  is  the  basis 


of  all  the  many  studies  which  have,  since  its  publication, 
been  made  of  the  changes  undergone  by  Castilian  in 
America.  The  study  of  the  language  was  a  cult  with 
Cuervo  who  lived  for  long  years  in  Paris  a  bookish  recluse. 
His  house  was  a  shrine  to  be  visited  by  Spanish  Americans 
pretending  to  a  love  of  letters. 

To  the  modernista  movement  of  recent  years  Colombia 
had  the  honor  of  contributing  Jose  Asuncion  Silva  (1860- 
96).  Though  contemporary  to  its  inception,  Silva's  in- 
ventions and  experiments  in  rhythm  were  eagerly  taken 
up  by  others  who  made  them  widely  known.  At  the  same 
time  the  music  of  his  lines,  their  originality  of  conception, 
their  intimate  reflection  of  an  artist's  personality  have 
made  his  poems  worthy  to  rank  with  the  best  productions 
of  the  modernista  school.  Through  them  Silva  has  done 
his  part  in  sustaining  the  reputation  which  Colombia 
has  long  enjoyed  for  the  high  quality  of  the  poetry  written 
by  her  sons. 



Literature  in  Venezuela  reflects  the  progress  of  its 
people  toward  a  higher  state  of  culture.  During  the 
colonial  period  perhaps  the  most  backward  of  the  Spanish 
colonies,  it  suff^ered  acutely  from  the  Spanish  policy  of 
maintaining  the  Creoles  in  ignorance.  An  evidence  of 
this  is  the  fact  that  there  was  no  printing  press  in  the 
colony  until  one  was  brought  there  by  the  revolutionist 
Francisco  Miranda  in  1806  as  an  auxiliary  weapon  against 
the  Spaniards.  Among  Miranda's  two  hundred  foreign 
volunteers  were  two  typesetters  who  printed  on  October  24, 
1806,  the  first  number  of  La  Gaceta  de  Caracas,  This  was 
the  first  of  the  many  periodicals  that  have  since  offered 
their  welcoming  pages  to  Venezuelan  writers. 

The  influence  of  the  press  must  not  be  overlooked  in  a 
study  of  their  literary  production.  Without  a  public 
to  encourage  an  author  by  the  purchase  of  his  books, 
the  only  channel  for  the  dissemination  of  his  ideas  was 
the  periodical.  Though  the  early  journals  were  almost 
wholly  political,  the  literary  section  soon  became  impor- 
tant. In  time  periodicals  devoted  mainly  to  letters  were 

In  point  of  time  the  earliest  Venezuelan  to  achieve 
fame  as  an  author  was  Andres  Bello,  who  wrote  his  first 
poems  before  leaving  the  country  on  his  political  mission 



to  England.  As  he  never  returned  to  the  land  of  his  birth 
but  produced  his  most  influential  work  in  Chile,  he  may 
best  be  considered  as  an  adopted  son  of  that  land.  Bello*s 
Venezuelan  poems  were  either  translations  or  imitations 
of  Virgil  and  Horace. 

They  were  written  during  the  period  of  his  social  inter- 
course with  the  brothers  Luis  and  Franciso  Javier  Us- 
tariz,  who  maintained  in  their  house  a  sort  of  literary 
society.  The  literary  exercises  of  their  coterie,  of  Miguel 
Jose  Sanz  and  Jose  Luis  Ramos,  written  in  the  most  frigid 
classical  manner,  were  slight  and  have  been  forgotten. 

After  Bello  the  Venezuelan  of  widest  reputation  in 
letters  is  Rafael  Maria  Barak  (1810-60).  His  youth  and 
his  family  connections  having  thrown  him  in  the  way  of 
learning  much  about  the  history  of  his  country,  he  was 
inspired  to  write  his  Historia  Antigua  y  Moderna  de  Vene- 
zuela. In  order  to  print  this  work  he  went  to  Paris  in 
1 841  and  two  years  later  took  up  his  residence  definitely 
in  Madrid.  He  became  one  of  the  literar^^  lights  of  the 
capital,  was  elected  a  member  of  the  Spanish  Academy, 
and  appointed  director  of  the  government  printing  office 
and  editor  of  the  official  gazette.  In  addition  to  his  other 
labors  he  rendered  a  real  service  to  the  lexicography  of 
the  Spanish  language  by  compiling  a  Diccionario  de  Gali- 
cismos,  1855. 

As  a  poet  Baralt  followed  closely  the  classical  tradition. 
His  desire  to  combat  the  extravagances  of  the  romantic 
school  led  him  often  into  the  archaic  and  the  obscure. 
His  sonnets  and  odes  were  written  on  such  topics  as  La 
Anunciaciouy  A  Espana^  AdiSs  a  la  Patrta,  A  Colon. 

The  ode  to  Columbus  is  a  masterpiece.    The  poet  ad- 


dresses  the  great  mariner  as  if  trying  to  warn  him  against 
his  contemplated  journey  to  the  West.  "Dost  not  see 
that  ocean,  man,  and  sky  oppose?"  The  results  of  the 
venture  will  be  a  new  world  filled  with  such  marvels  as 
the  river  Amazon,  the  Andes,  the  condor,  the  wealth  of 
the  Incas.  The  King  of  Portugal  lost  his  opportunity, 
but  Isabella  turned  her  jewels  into  empires.  As  a  reward 
for  the  navigator  King  Ferdinand's  crown  would  scarcely 
be  sufficient.  What  he  will  receive  beside  the  palm  of 
triumph  is  nothing  but  vile  chains.  His  real  reward  will 
be  the  grateful  esteem  of  the  new  world.  The  artistic 
workmanship  of  this  ode  merits  a  permanent  place  in 
Spanish  literature  for  Barak. 

Of  the  same  age  was  Fermin  Toro  (1807-65).  He  was  a 
politician  from  boyhood,  gifted  with  notable  ability  as 
an  orator.  At  the  age  of  twenty-five  he  went  to  London 
as  secretary  to  the  legation  of  Venezuela.  After  his  return, 
though  employed  by  the  government  in  various  capacities, 
he  took  an  active  interest  in  furthering  the  cause  of  educa- 
tion. In  1846  he  was  sent  to  Europe  as  minister  pleni- 
potentiary in  Great  Britain,  France  and  Spain.  From 
the  latter  he  obtained  a  ratification  of  the  treaty  con- 
firming the  independence  of  Venezuela.  The  following 
year  there  occurred  a  revolution  which  retired  him  to 
private  life  for  ten  years.  Then  he  was  again  sent  to 
negotiate  treaties  with  Spain  and  Italy. 

Actively  participating  in  the  life  of  his  time,  Toro's 
literary  work  has  two  diverse  aspects.  To  his  friends 
of  the  classical  school  he  offered  the  Silva  a  la  Zona  tor- 
rida  and  the  conceits  of  Anacreontics  like  La  Ninfa  del 
Anauco.    For  the  romanticists  he  pointed  out  a  new  field, 


the  aborigines  of  Venezuela,  whose  fate  at  the  cruel  hands 
of  the  Spanish  conquerors  he  lamented  in  a  series  of  frag- 
mentary elegies  entitled  Hecatonfonia,  In  the  romantic 
manner  also  he  wrote  the  tales,  La  Viuda  de  Corinto, 
and  los  Martires.  The  latter  is  a  story  of  the  un-Christian 
charity  with  which  an  unfortunate  woman  in  London 
may  be  treated  by  a  class  of  society  that  prides  itself 
on  being  the  most  cultured  in  the  world. 

The  romantic  movement  of  European  literature  had  its 
followers  in  Venezuela,  where  it  may  be  considered  in 
full  swing  at  the  time  of  the  arrival  in  that  country  as 
Spanish  minister  of  Jose  Heriberto  Garcia  de  Quevedo 
(i 8 19-71).  Coming  with  the  prestige  of  being  the  col- 
laborator of  the  Spanish  poet  Zorrilla  as  well  as  the  author 
of  poems,  plays  and  novels  of  his  own  invention,  he  was 
warmly  received  in  Caracas  and  claimed  by  the  Venezue- 
lans as  a  native  son.  As  a  matter  of  fact  he  was  six  years 
old  when  he  was  taken  by  his  tory  father  to  the  island 
of  Puerto  Rico  and  later  to  Spain  where  he  was  educated 
and  continued  to  live.  His  sojourn  in  Venezuela  lasted 
but  a  few  months,  so,  whatever  his  influence  in  promoting 
the  Zorrillan  legend,  the  story  of  his  literary  labors  belongs 
more  properly  to  Castilian  literature. 

On  the  other  hand,  Jose  Antonio  Maitin  (1804-74)  and 
Abigail  Lozano  (1823-66)  were  the  standard  bearers  of 
romanticism  in  their  land  and  both  were  widely  read 
throughout  Spanish  America.  The  former  sought  his 
inspiration  in  the  luxuriance  of  the  nature  about  him; 
while  the  latter  was  more  popular  among  his  countrymen 
because  he  wrote  heroic  verses  full  of  lyric  movement  and 
enthusiasm  for  the  national  heroes.    But  Lozano  is  well- 


nigh  forgotten  now,  whereas  the  personality  of  "the 
poet  of  the  Choroni,"  as  Maitin  was  called,  still  lives  in 
his  verses  redolent  of  the  damp  American  forest. 

The  exact  date  of  Maitin's  birth  is  uncertain,  but  he 
was  old  enough  to  remember  his  family's  flight  to  Cuba 
from  the  revolution  in  181 2.  He  returned  to  Venezuela, 
however,  and  from  1824  to  1826  was  an  attache  of  the 
legation  in  London,  where  he  must  have  come  into  con- 
tact with  Andres  Bello  and  Fernandez  Madrid.  His 
verses  certainly  show  first-hand  acquaintance  with  the 
English  romantic  poets.  Like  the  Lake  Poets,  he  pre- 
ferred to  spend  his  life  in  the  country  on  his  estate  in  the 
vale  of  the  river  Choroni.  There  amid  the  perfume  of 
the  tropical  flowers  we  may  lie  with  him  in  the  shade 
listening  to  the  song  of  strange  birds  or  watch  the  changing 
colors  of  the  sunset.  We  may  fish  with  him  or  read  Lamar- 
tine  at  will.  At  night  we  may  breathe  the  odors  that  dis- 
till through  the  brilliant  moonlight.  From  such  natural 
objects,  Maitin,  like  a  true  romanticist,  pretended  to  seek 
consolation  from  the  deceit  of  men.  His  wife's  death 
gave  an  opportunity  to  add  sincerity  of  feeling  to  the 
romantic  pose.  In  a  Canto  funehre  the  usual  classical 
expressions  receive  a  domestic  touch  when  the  poet  refers 
to  the  disarranged  chairs  of  his  home,  the  dust  that  lies 
thick  on  the  furniture,  and  the  lady's  sewing  with  the 
needle  still  in  the  unfinished  work. 

Maitin's  narrative  poems  also  have  their  admirers. 
El  Mascara  relates  the  story  of  a  thief  who  gains  admission 
to  the  home  of  a  wealthy  widow  by  courting  her  daughter. 
One  night,  instead  of  leaving  the  house,  he  hides  in  a 
corridor  until  the  lady  retires.     Then  entering  her  bed- 


room  he  demands  her  jewels  as  the  price  of  her  life.  The 
wily  widow,  however,  succeeds  in  trapping  the  intruder 
and  securing  his  arrest  before  he  leaves  the  house.  Another 
tale  in  verse,  El  Sereno,  introduces  the  reader  to  an  indi- 
vidual who  has  become  a  policeman  in  order  to  occupy 
his  mind  and  assuage  his  grief  at  the  loss  of  a  bride  taken 
from  him  on  his  wedding  night.  The  policeman  invites 
a  chance  stranger  to  see  the  sights  of  the  town  with  him. 
They  see  a  lover  lamenting  the  scorn  of  a  lady  who  has 
jilted  him.  They  converse  with  an  old  beggar  beneath 
the  window  of  the  hard-hearted  master  who  had  turned 
him  out  when  incapacitated  by  old  age.  They  address 
an  insane  woman  who  had  lost  her  reason  when  aban- 
doned by  a  faithless  lover.  She  recognizes  the  police- 
man's companion  as  her  perfidious  seducer.  The  latter 
oflFers  his  dagger  to  the  policeman  requesting  him  to  put 
an  end  to  his  existence.  Since  the  woman  was  the  bride 
of  his  sorrow,  the  policeman  is  rendered  nearly  frantic 
by  the  stranger's  act  admitting  his  identity.  But  he 
restrains  his  impulse  to  comply  with  the  request  to  slay. 
Instead  he  pardons  the  sinner  and  prays  Heaven  to  do 

Such  are  the  rather  bizarre  legends  of  Maitin.  His 
political  poems,  overloaded  with  metaphor  and  hyperbole, 
were  not  very  successful  either.  On  the  other  hand  the 
lyrics  are  still  readable  of  the  poet  who  sang, 

A  las  orillas  del  rio  Choroni. 

His  younger  contemporary,  Abigail  Lozano,  the  virile 
poet  with  the  feminine  name,  owed  his  really  great  popu- 
larity to  his  patriotic  verses.     His  lines  to  the  national 


hero,  Bolivar,  were  admired  even  in  Spain.  For  a  short 
time  his  talents  were  used  by  the  editor  of  a  political  jour- 
nal, El  Venezolano,  but  Lozano  soon  withdrew  his  services 
and  established  a  literary  magazine.  El  Album.  About 
1846  he  collected  his  verses  in  a  volume  entitled  Horas  de 
Martirio.  The  romantic  pose  assumed  in  these  composi- 
tions, mainly  on  the  theme  of  love,  is  well  indicated  by 
the  title.  They  are  wordy  and  extravagant  but  attractive 
on  account  of  a  certain  novelty  of  metaphor  and  a  splendid 
coloring.  In  1864  he  published  a  second  volume,  Otras 
Horas  de  Martirio.  These  poems  were  written  during 
a  more  active  participation  in  politics,  for  he  joined  the 
opponents  of  Monagas  and  after  their  success  held  some 
political  offices. 

Another  important  member  of  the  group  of  Venezuelan 
romantic  poets  was  Jose  Antonio  Calcano  (1827-97),  ^^ 
of  whom  his  compatriots  were  fond  of  saying  that  he  be- 
longed to  a  family  of  nightingales.  He,  however,  was  the 
poet,  while  his  brother  Eduardo  was  primarily  an  orator 
and  Julio  a  critic  and  novelist.  The  saying  arose  un- 
doubtedly from  the  conspicuous  fluidity  of  his  lines  and 
the  ease  with  which  he  essayed  various  styles  in  imitation 
of  Leopardi,  Lamartine,  Hugo,  Byron  and  Zorrilla.  His 
Silva  a  la  Academia  espaiiola  was  written  in  the  strictest 
classical  style.  On  the  other  hand,  the  major  part  of  his 
poems  are  filled  with  romantic  regrets  and  bitterness  of 
heart.  A  Orillas  del  Tamaira  offers  a  series  of  pictures 
taken  from  the  memories  of  his  childhood  accompanied 
with  repining  at  their  inevitable  loss.  Thus  the  poet  runs 
the  gamut  of  the  romantic  emotions;  homesickness  in 
La  Sahoyana,  the  disillusion  of  the  world  in  Amor  e  Inocen- 


cia,  the  torturing  doubts  of  a  jealous  lover  in  El  CipreSy 
the  desire  for  rest  from  his  sorrows  in  La  Muerte.  The 
attraction  of  many  of  his  poems  lies  in  the  delicacy  with 
which  he  evokes  images  of  the  Venezuelan  landscape. 
In  this  regard  should  be  mentioned  La  Maga  y  el  Genio 
de  las  SelvaSy  La  Flor  del  Tahaco,  and  especially  La  Hoja 
to  which  the  saying  about  the  nightingale  might  well 
apply,  to  judge  by  the  following  lines.  The  poet  describes 
the  place  where  he  received  the  first  kiss  of  a  childhood 

Nos  saludaron  mirtos  y  palmas; 

su  frente  al  sauce  doblar  mire; 

a  augurar  dichas  a  muestras  almas 

canto  en  las  ceibas  el  Dios-te-de. 

Hizonos  toldo,  fresco  y  sombrio, 
con  sus  ramajes  el  cafetal; 
epitalamio  nos  hizo  el  rio: 
canto  las  nupcias  un  cardinal. 

The  lyrical  quality  of  these  lines  will  appeal  even  to 
those  who  must  be  told  that  the  ceiba  is  a  giant  tree,  one 
of  the  most  conspicuous  in  the  Venezuelan  landscape, 
while  the  cardinal  is  famous  for  the  brilliance  of  its  plu- 
mage and  the  Dios-te-de  owes  its  onomato-poetic  name  to 
its  song. 

The  poetic  possibilities  of  the  country  were  being  taught 
at  this  time  by  Juan  Vicente  Gonzalez  (1808-66)  both 
by  precept  and  practice.  He  was  not  a  versifier  but  a 
voluminous  writer  on  the  history  of  his  native  country. 
Possessed  of  a  remarkable  intellect  fertile  in  ideas,  his 
influence  on  his  contemporaries  was  considerable.  Beside 
his   Manual   de   Historia   universal^    his  most   important 


book  from  a  national  point  of  view  was  his  Mesenianas, 
a  series  of  prose  elegies  written  in  a  florid  oratorical  and 
romantic  style  on  men  who  had  died  for  their  country. 
To  Gonzalez  is  attributed  by  Picon  Febres  the  initiative 
of  a  truly  national  literature  through  his  propaganda  in 
favor  of  nationalizing  it. 

The  interesting  personality  of  the  man  is  well  illustrated 
by  the  following  anecdote.  A  large  fat  man,  he  was 
ridiculed  for  his  weak  feminine  voice,  though  at  the  same 
time  he  was  feared  for  his  sharp  tongue.  Once  in  a  public 
cafe  he  was  approached  by  a  certain  general  concerning 
whom  he  had  written  that  the  general  had  set  fire  to  many 
towns  and  was  the  horror  of  the  country.  Facing  Gon- 
zalez, the  man  demanded  with  threatening  bluster: — 
"Why  did  you  say  that  about  me?"  Gonzalez  rose  from 
his  seat,  "And  you,  who  are  you.?"  "General  Fulano," 
repHed  the  soldier.  "Ah,"  replied  Gonzalez  flourishing 
his  enormous  cane,  "I  said  it  because  it  was  the  truth." 

Local  color  without  special  eflFort  to  obtain  it  abounds 
in  the  poems  of  Jose  Ramon  Yepes  (1822-81).  He  was 
the  son  of  an  old  family  in  Maracaibo.  Showing  a  fondness 
for  the  sea,  he  entered  the  Venezuelan  navy  where  he 
rapidly  rose  in  rank  because  he  showed  great  bravery  in 
the  factional  fights  in  which  the  marine  took  part  about 
1850.  It  seems  strange  that  a  seadog  should  write  verses, 
but  the  man  had  a  truly  poetic  faculty,  and  was  dubbed 
by  his  acquaintances  the  "Swan  of  the  Lake."  To  him 
the  wind,  the  clouds,  the  color  of  the  sea  and  sky  mean 
more  than  to  the  ordinary  sailor.  In  Las  Nuhes  he  gave 
a  record  of  the  fancies  with  which  their  varying  shapes 
inspired  him,  entirely  pictorial  and  descriptive,  and  the 


only  words  of  the  poem  which  are  subjective  are  the  clos- 
ing lines,  "I  bless  you,  apparitions  of  Heaven."  His 
fancy  again  ran  riot  in  Las  Orillas  del  Lago  when  he  saw  a 
child  knock  at  the  gate  of  the  palace  of  the  fairies.  His 
experiences  as  a  sailor  he  utilized  in  a  marine  ballad,  Santa 
Rosa  de  Lima,  relating  a  legend  that  she  once  appeared 
to  some  storm-tossed  sailors  who  invoked  her  assistance 
and  by  casting  roses  on  the  troubled  waters,  rescued  them. 
In  La  Golondrina  after  describing  the  swallow's  flight  he 
compared  it  to  his  own  thoughts.  To  poems  of  a  philo- 
sophical turn  he  was  fond  of  giving  the  title  Niehla.  The 
prettiest  of  these  is  one  written  to  comfort  a  mother  whose 
little  girl  had  just  died.  The  poet  represented  the  child 
contemplating  a  cloud  and  expressing  a  wish  to  be  one; 
when  the  mother  comes,  the  child's  wish  had  been  ful- 
filled. In  the  homelike  character  of  his  subjects  Yepes 
resembles  Longfellow  just  as  his  attitude  toward  nature 
and  the  lyric  swing  of  his  lines  reminds  the  reader  of 

Yepes  also  tried  his  hand  at  description  of  aboriginal 
life  in  a  poem  Los  Hijos  de  Par  ay  aula  and  in  two  prose 
romances,  Anaida  and  Iguaraya,  in  which  Yepes  appears 
to  have  taken  Chateaubriand  for  a  model.  The  most 
successful  parts  are  the  descriptions  of  tropical  scenery. 

Though  Yepes  was  more  artistic  in  his  criollo  verse, 
Domingo  Ramon  Hernandez  (1829-93)  surpassed  him  in 
popularity  with  their  fellow  countrymen.  His  sentimental 
melancholy  voiced  Venezuelan  feelings  in  such  beautiful 
poems  as  his  Canto  de  la  Golondrina.  It  depicts  the  swal- 
low returning  after  a  long  absence  to  find  that  the  nest- 
ing place  which  had  been  its  cradle  has  beer»  destroyed. 


Though  it  found  another  fine  nest  and  enjoyed  life  greatly, 
it  never  met  with  the  repose  and  contentment  of  its  birth- 
place. Hernandez  was  a  poet  essentially  romantic  in 
sentiment  unexcelled  in  true  tenderness  by  any  Vene- 
zuelan. The  sorrows  in  which  his  verses  abounded  plainly 
sprang  from  the  spectacle  of  human  misery. 

The  power  of  eloquent  speech  is  nowhere  greater  than 
among  Spanish  Americans.  The  rhythmic  flow  of  their 
vocalic  language  excites  in  them  an  aesthetic  emotion 
incomprehensible  to  people  of  other  races.  To  this  psy- 
chological peculiarity  has  been  ascribed  the  frequency  of 
revolutions  in  some  of  the  countries,  especially  Colombia. 
Would  the  facts  of  the  following  anecdote  be  possible  in 
England  or  the  United  States?  It  is  related  of  Cecilio 
Acosta  (1831-81)  that  one  day  after  he  had  delivered  a 
speech  in  praise  of  the  fine  arts  before  the  Academia  de 
las  Bellas  Artes  in  Caracas,  he  was  accompanied  home  by 
a  crowd  composed  not  only  of  enthusiastic  students  and 
ordinary  persons  but  also  of  members  of  the  society,  the 
clergy  and  government  officials.  One  of  the  latter,  not  a 
personal  friend  either,  addressed  Acosta*s  mother  in  these 
terms: — "Seiiora,  accept  my  most  sincere  congratulations 
because  your  son  has  just  uttered  the  most  eloquent 
discourse  that  I  have  ever  heard.'* 

Acosta  was  an  orator  and  learned  lawyer,  a  clever 
journalist  and  a  poet.  His  poems  are  not  numerous,  but 
he  shows  in  the  two  best.  La  Casita  blanca,  and  La  Gota 
de  Rocio,  the  same  qualities  that  distinguished  his  prose. 
He  was  expert  at  developing  an  idea  by  repetition,  in 
throwing  about  a  common  object  the  most  brilliant  back- 
ground  of  verbal   images.      His   manner  was   distinctly 



original.  The  significance  of  it  is  not  merely  in  the  power 
of  persuasion  which  he  exercised  over  his  audiences  but 
also  in  the  influence  which  his  writings  have  had  on  younger 
men,  orators,  joumaHsts  and  poets. 

Another  famous  orator  was  Eduardo  Calcano  called 
by  an  admirer  "the  prince  of  the  artists  of  speech."  When 
Venezuelan  minister  to  Spain  his  oratory  was  greatly 
praised  by  the  press.  Though  author  of  some  verses, 
such  as  his  Balada  indiana,  he  did  not  write  so  well  as 
his  brother  Jose  Antonio. 

Everybody  familiar  with  classical  Spanish  plays  knows 
the  part  played  by  the  Andalusian  gracioso.  The  ready 
quip  and  satirical  comment  were  his  stock  in  trade.  In 
modern  literature  he  is  represented  by  the  journalist  that 
grinds  out  his  daily  article  more  or  less  funny  according 
to  circumstances.  Of  this  type  of  humor  Venezuelan 
literature  can  show  as  many  successful  examples  as  any 
other  in  Spanish  America.  Daniel  Mendoza  (1823-67) 
chose  for  the  mouthpiece  of  his  satire  the  "llanero"  or 
cowboy  from  beyond  the  Orinoco  who  comes  to  Caracas 
and  is  amazed  at  the  foolish  expenditure  of  money  by  all 
classes  in  the  capital.  Nothing  escapes  his  observation, 
neither  the  fashionable  ladies  nor  the  dandies,  least  of 
all  the  politicians.  As  a  sample  of  his  wit,  take  the  fol- 

"I  was  saying,  continued  the  doctor,  that  in  that  edifice 
are  made  our  laws. — Caramba,  Doctor,  for  such  a  little 
thing  such  an  immense  building!" 

Of  these  "costumbristas"  a  considerable  list  of  names 
might  be  given.  The  value  of  what  they  have  written 
is  apparent  to  anybody  in  whose  hands  their  articles  have 


fallen,  for  in  them  the  Venezuelan  people  live  and  think. 
If  you  wish  to  know  how  the  buyer  and  seller  plan  to 
outwit  each  other  with  the  advantage  on  the  side  of  the 
seller,  read  Francisco  de  Sales  Perez  who  flourished  about 
1880,  in  the  collected  volume  of  his  collected  articles 
Ratos  Perdidos.  For  amusing  portraits  of  persons  in  the 
public  eye,  read  Nicanor  Bolet  Peraza.  Though  these 
descriptions  of  manners  are  mainly  in  prose,  examples  in 
verse  are  not  lacking.  For  that  sort  of  writing,  Aristo- 
phanic  bitterness  has  been  ascribed  to  J.  M.  Nunez  de 

Pedro  Jose  Hernandez  wrote  his  humorous  sketches 
of  manners  in  verse  in  the  form  of  fables,  of  epistles  to 
persons  and  of  jocose  sonnets.  For  example,  one  of  the 
latter  begins  by  describing  a  tumbledown  cabin  suggestive 
of  the  vanity  of  human  affairs;  but  not  in  this  lies  the  oc- 
cupant's sadness  but  in  the  fact  that  he  owes  a  month's 
rent.  Or  coming  along  the  street  one  beautiful  Easter 
morning,  everything  contributed  to  his  joy,  even  the 
finding  of  a  coin  at  his  feet.  On  picking  it  up,  alas!  it 
proved  to  be  false. 

Nicanor  Bolet  Peraza  (183  8-1906)  became  widely  known 
through  the  fortunes  of  his  political  career.  An  opponent 
of  Guzman  Blanco  he  was  obliged  to  live  by  means  of 
journalistic  work  in  the  United  States.  As  he  was  able 
to  speak  English  his  trenchant  wit  was  in  demand  at  ban- 
quets and  other  public  occasions,  so  that  for  a  time  he  was 
to  North  Americans  a  representative  Spanish  American. 
He  used  to  urge  his  fellow  countrymen  to  strive  for  the 
blessings  of  peace  and  industry,  such  as  were  enjoyed 
by  the  people  of  the  United  States.    Besides  his  numerous 


journalistic  articles  both  amusing  and  serious  in  character 
he  wrote  a  play  Luchas  del  Honor  which  was  enthusias- 
tically received  in  Caracas. 

Antonio  Guzman  Blanco  (1830-99),  though  he  ruled 
Venezuela  as  a  tyrant  directly  or  through  puppets  for  about 
twenty-five  years,  was  a  great  civilizing  force.  He  was 
able  by  rigorous  measures  to  put  an  end  to  a  long-standing 
anarchy  in  the  country.  He  reestablished  Venezuelan 
finances  by  the  successful  contraction  of  a  loan  in  London 
and  by  rigid  economies  in  the  internal  administration  of 
the  country.  In  the  matter  of  education  he  wished  for 
"a  school  in  every  street."  Though  his  vanity  made  him 
somewhat  ridiculous  by  reason  of  the  many  statues  of 
himself  which  he  erected,  from  1872  on  he  brought  a  large 
measure  of  material  prosperity  to  Venezuela.  Under  his 
regime  literature  flourished.  During  the  seventies  it  was 
somewhat  artificial  in  character,  but  with  the  introduction 
of  liberal  studies  at  the  University  of  Caracas,  and  the 
teaching  of  the  theory  of  evolution  fostered  by  Guzman 
Blanco,  the  younger  generation  was  able  to  comprehend 
and  adapt  the  new  tendencies  in  literature  of  which  Zola 
and  the  naturalistic  school  were  sponsors. 

In  1869  was  established  in  Caracas  the  Academia  de 
Ciencias  sociales  y  de  Bellas  Letras  which,  to  celebrate  its 
foundation,  offered  a  prize  for  an  ode  on  La  Libertad  del 
Viejo  Mundo.  The  title  shows  the  trend  which  romanti- 
cism had  taken  under  the  leadership  of  Victor  Hugo  him- 
self. He  developed  and  practiced  the  theory  that  lit- 
erature should  place  itself  at  the  social  service  of  mankind. 
Accordingly  odes  on  abstract  topics  became  the  fashion. 
The  first  prize  in  the  contest  of  the  Academia  was  awarded 


to  Heraclio  de  la  Guardia  (i 829-1907).  Later  he  was  pre- 
sented with  a  gold  medal  by  the  University  of  Caracas  for 
an  ode  to  science.  The  totality  of  Guardia's  verses  is 
large,  but  their  tone  is  not  so  frigid  as  their  titles  would 
indicate.  Like  every  Venezuelan  poet  he  could  sing  the 
beauties  of  tropical  nature. 

Another  winner  of  academic  poetry  was  Francisco 
Guaycaypuro  Pardo  (1829-82)  whose  odes,  La  Gloria  del 
Libertadofy  El  Poder  de  la  Idea  and  El  Porvenir  de  America 
carried  off  prizes  in  the  years  1872,  '75  and  '77.  But 
Pardo,  though  not  equalling  the  originality  of  Yepes,  had 
something  of  the  poetic  feeling  which  distinguished  the 
latter,  "the  swan  of  the  lake."  This  is  apparent  in  the 
descriptions  of  nature  in  Las  Indianas.  With  greater 
unity  of  substance,  these  poems  would  compare  favorably 
with  Longfellow's  Hiawatha,  by  which  they  seem  to  be 

Academic  poetry  tended  to  an  epic  accent  and  glorifica- 
tion of  America.  In  Venezuela,  this  was  furthered  by  the 
centenary  of  Bolivar,  celebrated  in  1883  with  great  pomp 
by  Guzman  Blanco,  "the  Regenerator,"  as  he  styled  him- 
self; in  contrast  with  the  Liberator.  To  this  epic  tendency 
were  due  many  poems  such  as  La  Colombiada  and  La 
Boliviada  by  Felipe  Tejera,  though  not  all  were  so  ambi- 
tious in  scope.  The  tendency  to  philosophize  which  marks 
academic  poetry  took  an  original  turn  toward  the  end  of 
the  decade  of  the  seventies,  through  imitation  of  the 
German  poet  Heine  and  his  Spanish  adapter  Becquer. 
Becquerista  verse  was  immensely  popular  throughout 
Spanish  America.  In  Venezuela  it  was  made  known  by 
Juan  Antonio  Perez  Bonalde  (1846-92). 


In  1877  appeared  his  first  volume  entitled  Estrofas, 
These  were  mainly  translations  of  Heine's  poems.  Besides 
them,  Perez  Bonalde  translated  Poe's  Raven  in  a  masterly 
manner.  But  he  was  not  merely  a  translator,  for  in 
original  work  Perez  Bonalde  must  be  reckoned  among 
Venezuela's  greatest  poets.  He  excelled  in  verse  expressing 
purely  human  sentiments.  His  Vuelta  a  la  Patria  con- 
tained sublime  words  on  a  topic  which  appeals  to  the  hearts 
of  all  Spanish  Americans.  In  Flor,  dedicated  to  his  daugh- 
ter Flor,  snatched  from  him  by  death,  he  rebelled  against 
the  cruel  fate  of  sudden  death,  which  threatens  all  human- 
ity. Perez  Bonalde's  fame  is  however  mainly  grounded  on 
his  Poema  del  Niagara  written  in  1880. 

In  the  opening  lines  the  poet  challenged  comparison 
with  the  "  Poet  of  Niagara,"  the  Cuban  Heredia.  We  can 
do  no  better  than  to  accept  in  this  matter  the  judgment 
of  the  Cuban  orator,  Jose  Marti,  who  contributed  to  the 
second  edition  of  the  poem  a  preface  beginning:  "This 
man  who  comes  with  me  is  a  grandee,  though  not  of  Spain, 
and  he  comes  with  his  hat  on:  he  is  Juan  Antonio  Perez 
Bonalde,  who  has  written  the  Poem  on  Niagara.  And  if 
you  ask  me  more  about  him,  curious  passer-by,  I  will  tell 
thee  that  he  measured  his  strength  with  a  giant,  and  did 
not  come  away  hurt,  but  with  his  lyre  on  his  shoulder  and 
with  something  like  an  aureole  of  triumph  on  his  brow. 
Do  not  ask  more,  for  it  is  sufficient  proof  of  greatness  to 
have  dared  measure  one's  strength  with  giants;  because 
the  merit  is  not  in  the  outcome  of  the  attack,  although  this 
man  returned  in  good  condition  from  the  struggle,  but  in 
the  courage  to  attack." 

In  the  poem,  after  describing  the  smoothly  flowing  river 


above  the  falls,  the  poet  arrives  at  the  rush  of  waters  upon 
the  rocks,  the  foam,  the  rain  of  diamonds,  the  rising  vapors. 
He  demands  to  know  where  is  the  deity  of  the  falls.  He 
entreats  Virgil  to  lead  him,  because  it  is  the  poet's  business 
to  be  a  leader  and  conquer  time  and  death.  As  the  Man- 
tuan  makes  no  reply,  the  poet  urges  himself  forward  to 
solve  the  mystery.  He  propounds  three  questions  to 
which  Echo  gives  answers.  "Terrible  genius  of  the  torrent, 
whither  goes  mortal  man?"  And  Echo  responds,  "To  the 
tomb."  "Is  the  tomb  the  end?  what  remains?"  "Noth- 
ing." "Then  why  the  struggle?  will  man  ever  know  the 
secret  of  Being?"  "Never."  Farewell,  cries  the  poet, 
your  secret  is  the  same  as  the  thinker's;  rebellion,  doubt, 
the  agony  of  the  heart  in  tears.  As  the  poet  emerges  from 
behind  the  falls  he  shouts  Hosanna!  at  the  beauty  of  the 
light,  and  turning  again  to  the  rushing  waters,  he  says  you 
are  Hke  man  on  an  enormous  scale,  as  ignorant  as  he.  You 
issue  pure  and  beautiful,  but  like  the  child  fall  into  sin. 
You  have  your  crown  of  iris,  man  has  the  iris  of  love  and 
hope.  In  winter  all  is  frozen  about  you  but  the  torrent, 
just  so  man  has  poetry,  his  constant  aspirations,  the  ideal. 
Some  day  you  will  disappear  in  a  grand  cataclysm.  I  too 
with  my  lyre  will  pass  away. 

The  immediate  disciple  in  this  sort  of  verse  was  Miguel 
Sanchez  Pesquera  (bom  185 1).  In  his  early  poems  he 
sang  passionate  love,  but  attracted  by  Heine's  lieder,  he 
wrote  excellent  verses  of  the  type  which  draw  a  moral  by 
means  of  dramatic  anecdote  or  dramatic  setting.  La 
Tumba  del  Marino  begins : — He  is  dead !  They  say  on  the 
ship  speeding  to  distant  Spain.  Into  the  water  with  him, 
exclaims  indifferently  the  captain.     And  the  poet  envies 


the  ship  wishing  he  might  throw  his  dead  heart  into  the 
waters.  El  ultimo  Pensamiento  de  Weher  is  a  poetic  inter- 
pretation of  a  musical  composition  much  admired  by  Ven- 
ezuelans. "Virgins,  listen,"  the  poet  cries,  and  they 
hearken  to  a  rhapsody  on  the  transitoriness  of  human  life. 

The  theory  of  poetics  which  makes  beauty  the  supreme 
object  of  art,  while  the  personality  of  the  artist  is  subor- 
dinated to  the  point  of  disappearance,  sometimes  called 
the  Parnassian  school,  as  exemplified  in  Leconte  de  L'Isle 
and  the  French  poet,  J.  M.  Heredia,  had  its  followers 
in  Venezuela  toward  the  end  of  the  nineteenth  century. 
Jacinto  Gutierrez  Coll  and  Manuel  Fombona  Palacio 
were  perhaps  its  two  closest  adherents.  But  the  spirit 
of  individuality  is  too  keenly  felt  by  Spanish  Americans  to 
be  long  subordinated.  Moreover,  the  modernista  move- 
ment soon  changed  the  direction  of  the  poetic  current. 
Men  like  Gonzalo  Picon  Febres,  Andres  Mata,  and  Ga- 
briel Mufioz,  who  began  to  write  in  the  Parnassian  style 
became  modemistas. 

Manuel  Fombona  Palacio  (1857-1903),  achieved  a 
reputation  for  correctness  of  diction.  By  temperament, 
he  was  a  classic  as  is  evident  in  his  odes  A  Andalucia  and 
A  la  Muerte  de  Alfonso  XII,  which  are  read  for  their 
excellence  of  form.  A  later  poem  with  its  Latin  title 
Hannibal  ante  portas  is  purely  Parnassian,  as  it  depicts 
the  alarm  of  the  citizens  of  Rome  at  the  news  of  Hannibal's 
latest  triumphs. 

Gabriel  E.  Muiioz  strove  to  give  his  poems  an  Attic 
intonation  and  published  them  under  the  title  Helenicas. 
One  of  them.  El  Himno  de  las  Bacantes,  won  widespread 
popularity  in  Spanish  America. 


Andres  Mata  with  similar  intent  named  his  productions 
Pentelicas,  suggestive  of  the  cold  beauty  of  a  classic 
marble.  But  some  of  them  were  written  under  the  spell  of 
the  Mexican  fire-eater,  Diaz  Miron.  Consequently  Mata 
sings  his  struggles  and  personal  triumphs  with  manly 
vigor.  Nor  is  there  anything  cold  about  the  little  poem 
Del  Pasado,  in  which  he  relates  the  memory  of  a  youthful 
kiss  bestowed  on  a  barefoot  maiden  beside  a  spring. 

Manuel  Pimentel  Coronel  (i 863-1907)  wrote  copious 
verses  which  were  intended  to  impart  a  thought,  as  well  as 
to  be  works  of  art.  Los  Paladines  is  a  good  example  of  his 
method.  After  describing  the  defeat  of  a  lion  by  an  eagle 
whose  nest  on  a  clifF  the  beast  tried  to  rob,  he  urges  poets 
to  remember  that  victory  awaits  them  in  their  struggles 
with  titanic  forces.  The  narrative  element  in  his  poems 
makes  them  interesting  reading. 

Literature  in  Venezuela  always  returns  to  nature  for 
its  inspiration.  As  a  describer  of  Venezuelan  landscape 
Victor  Raca.Tionde  was  eminently  Venezuelan.  Even 
more  a  follower  of  Yepes  in  this  regard  was  Samuel  Dario 
Maldonado.  In  Non  serviam,  he  openly  proclaimed  him- 
self a  Venezuelan  rebel  in  the  matter  of  following  rules  of 
art.  And  in  lines  of  capricious  length  he  relates  in  La 
Gloria  his  pursuit  through  a  Venezuelan  landscape  of  the 
nymph  glory.  En  el  Rio  Zulia  and  Al  Pastel  are  other 
charming  pictures  of  natural  beauty.  His  rebellion  against 
classicism  led  him  to  use  native  words  and  phrases  at  will. 

Another  poet  to  cultivate  the  crioUo  in  his  verses  was 
Francisco  Lazo  Marti,  who  combined  therewith  a  certain 
philosophical  symbolism.  His  Silva  criolla  is  a  beautiful 
description  of  landscape  and  manners  in  the  Orinoco  basin. 


The  first  attempts  at  fiction  in  Venezuela  were  produced 
under  the  influence  of  the  romantic  school.  The  orator 
and  poet,  Fermin  Toro,  imitated  the  manner  of  Victor 
Hugo  in  Los  Martires  and  La  Viuda  de  Corinto. 

Julio  Calcano  (b.  1840),  of  the  famous  family  of  that 
name,  published  in  1868  the  attractive  Blanc  a  de  Tor- 
restella,  which  has  deservedly  seen  its  third  edition.  As 
it  treats  of  the  period  of  the  renaissance  in  Italy  it  may  still 
be  read  with  interest  like  any  other  historical  novel.  In 
other  tales  Julio  Calcano  made  his  native  country  the 
background  of  the  story  and  could  write  such  vivid  de- 
scription as  this  portrait  of  Padre  Larrea,  parish  priest 
and  colonel  of  revolutionary  forces: — "Tall  and  vigorous, 
his  sturdy  neck  revealed  energy  and  determination  in 
every  movement.  To  see  him  on  his  mule,  a  palm  leaf 
hat  on  his  head,  his  soutane  thrust  into  his  trousers  which 
in  their  turn  were  thrust  into  campaign  boots,  a  sabre 
dangling  from  his  belt  which  also  held  two  double  barrelled 
pistols,  was  the  same  thing  as  seeing  the  Devil  with  a  medal 
of  Christ  at  his  neck.  When  the  ecclesiastical  authorities 
suspended  him  from  his  sacred  duties,  he  did  not  complain 
but  exclaimed, — *They  will  erect  triumphal  arches  for 
us  yet  and  make  me  archdeacon  or  bishop  when  we  win.*" 

Julio  Calcano  was  an  active  figure  in  the  world  of  letters 
for  many  years,  to  which  he  performed  an  important 
service  by  a  valuable  treatise  on  the  peculiarities  of 
Venezuelan  speech.  El  Castellano  en  Venezuela. 

Other  writers  of  romantic  fiction  were  Jose  Maria 
Manrique,  whose  moralizing  tales  of  impossible  men  and 
women  were  enjoyed  by  his  readers;  and  Eduardo  Blanco, 
an  exponent  of  the  fantastic  and  miraculous.    His  Zdratey 


published  in  1882,  the  story  of  a  Venezuelan  bandit,  was 
transitional  to  the  realism  coming  into  vogue. 

About  1880  the  younger  generation  in  Venezuela  began 
reading  Zola.  At  the  same  time  the  professors  in  the 
University  of  Caracas,  supported  by  President  Guzman 
Blanco,  were  teaching  the  elements  of  the  Darwinian 
theory.  Very  soon  the  conflict  of  the  new  scientific  ideas 
with  the  old  order  was  reflected  in  fiction,  while  a  heated 
controversy  raged  about  Zola  and  the  naturalistic  school. 

Among  the  first  students  of  Zola  was  Tomas  Michelena 
whose  realistic  tale  Debora,  1884,  argued  the  social  neces- 
sity of  divorce.  Other  tales  were  more  psychological  in 
character,  as  La  Hebrea^  which  attempts  to  disclose  the 
result  of  the  marriage  of  Sara  with  Raul,  a  freethinker. 

The  psychological  story  in  the  manner  of  Bourget  was 
practiced  by  Jose  Gil  Fortoul.  His  autobiographical 
Julian  was  followed  by  ildilio?  This  latter  concerns 
Enrique,  a  precocious  youth,  who  has  heard  his  professor 
say  that  the  sun  is  fixed  in  space  while  the  earth  swings 
about  it;  but  he  remembers  that  the  parish  priest  in  re- 
lating the  story  of  Joshua  had  said  that  the  patriarch 
stopped  the  sun  three  hours  in  its  course.  The  doubt 
in  which  this  conflict  of  statement  plunged  the  lad  of 
fifteen  made  him  "beat  the  earth,  pluck  handfuls  of  grass, 
perspire,  gesticulate."  Enrique  is  in  love  with  Isabel, 
who  is  struck  by  lightning  and  he  rebels  against  God, 
but  instead  of  being  morally  ruined,  he  is  filled  with 
fresh  energy  to  pursue  his  studies.  A  third  story,  Pasiones, 
attempts  to  reveal  the  mental  attitude  of  the  young  men, 
during  the  last  years  of  Guzman  Blanco's  rule.  Gil  Fortoul 
had  himself  been  imprisoned  for  his  utterances  on  public 


questions.  He  has  since  become  a  learned  man,  whose 
Historia  constitucional  de  Venezuela  is  an  authority  on  the 
subject  and  places  the  author  among  the  leading  men  of 
his  country.  This  history  was  written  with  great  care  and 
deliberation.  Begun  when  Gil  Fortoul  was  in  the  diplo- 
matic service  of  Venezuela,  a  pension  from  the  govern- 
ment enabled  him  to  complete  and  publish  it.  In  the 
opinion  of  a  competent  critic,  R.  Blanco  Fombona,  "it 
is  the  most  complete,  most  attractive,  and  most  worth 
reading  of  any  general  history  of  Venezuela." 

The  sensuality  of  Zola  is  reflected  in  the  tales  of  exotic 
manners  by  Pedro  Cesar  Dominici,  and  in  the  novels  of 
Venezuelan  life  by  Rafael  Cabrera  Malo  and  Arevalo 
Gonzalez.  But  the  manners  depicted  in  these  imitations 
of  French  fiction  are  not  racy  to  the  soil  of  Venezuela  like 
those  described  by  other  novelists.  Somehow  in  Venezuela 
though  a  movement  in  literature  may  come  from  outside, 
it  very  soon  adapts  itself  to  the  genius  of  the  country. 
"  Thus  in  1890  written  according  to  naturalistic  methods, 
so  true  to  Venezuelan  life  and  dialect  that  it  is  difficult 
for  anybody  not  a  Venezuelan  to  understand,  was  pub- 
lished Peonia,  by  Manuel  Romero  Garcia.  The  author 
announced  as  his  purpose  "to  photograph  a  social  condi- 
tion," namely,  family  life  in  the  rural  parts  of  Venezuela 
during  Guzman  Blanco's  regime.  The  chief  character, 
Carlos,  who  tells  the  story,  has  just  graduated  from  the 
university  as  a  doctor  of  law.  Therefore  he  is  invited 
from  the  city  to  visit  an  uncle  on  his  plantation  in  order 
to  assist  him  in  settling  a  boundary  dispute.  The  young 
man  finds  there  a  dreadful  state  of  affairs.  His  uncle  is  a 
brutal  tyrant  who  not  only  maltreats  his  servants  and 


employees  but  even  beats  his  wife  and  children  with  a 
rawhide  whip.  The  oldest  daughter  has  a  love  intrigue 
with  a  man  beneath  her  social  position  who  eventually 
sets  fire  to  the  house  and  shoots  her  father.  The  various 
incidents  of  the  story  introduce  many  customs  of  the 
country.  The  bad  moral  conditions  depicted  are  ascribed 
by  Romero  Garcia  to  two  facts,  one  that  the  laws  of 
Venezuela  do  not  admit  of  divorce,  and  the  other  the 
persistence  of  the  old  Roman  tradition  in  the  household 
that  the  father's  word  is  law.  "We  have  in  the  home," 
he  says,  "an  odious  dictatorship,  a  school  in  which  slaves 
are  trained  for  political  dictatorships." 

Peonia  launched  the  nationalistic  or  "criollo"  movement 
in  fiction.  It  was  helped  by  the  establishment  in  Caracas 
about  the  same  time  of  El  Cojo  ilustrado^  a  review  whose 
pages  were  open  to  the  publication  of  Creole  stories.  The 
honor  of  being  the  first  to  write  short  stories  in  this  new 
form  of  art  is  attributed  to  Luis  Urbaneja  Achelpohl. 
Others  who  have  published  collections  are  Rafael  Bolivar 
and  Rufino  Blanco  Fombona. 

As  some  of  the  latter's  tales  were  translated  into  French 
they  have  had  a  wide  circulation.  Blanco  Fombona 
began  his  literary  career  by  writing  verses.  Political 
conditions  compelled  him  to  leave  Venezuela,  but  he  was 
later  Venezuelan  consul  in  Amsterdam.  When  fortune 
brought  him  to  Paris  he  published  sketches  of  travel  in 
Mas  alia  de  los  Horizontes  and  a  volume  of  verses,  Pequena 
opera  lirica,  1904.  In  Paris  he  was  a  personal  associate 
of  Ruben  Dario.  As  a  modernista  poet,  Blanco  Fombona 
must  be  reckoned  as  the  foremost  representative  of  Vene- 
zuela in  the  modernista  movement;  while  his  tales  and 


his  criollo  novel  El  Homhre  de  Hierro  give  him  a  high  place 
as  a  writer  of  fiction. 

/  This  novel  is  a  bitter  satire  onjocial  condijjons  in  Vene- 
/zuela  written  from  the  fullness  of  personal  knowledge. 
I  Blanco  Fombona  was  appointed  by  Cipriano  Castro, 
governor  of  the  territory  of  Amazonas,  which  in  his  own 
words  "is  as  wild  as  in  the  days  of  the  conquistadores 
and  its  population  has  the  reputation  of  assassinating 
governors."  Having  defended  himself  against  an  armed 
attack,  he  was  criminally  accused  and  put  in  prison.  There 
in  1905  he  wrote  El  Homhre  de  Hierro.  The  title  is  the 
nickname  given  to  Crispin  Luz  for  his  extraordinary  appli- 
cation to  business  and  fidelity  to  his  employer.  The  latter 
is  portrayed  as  the  type  of  the  unscrupulous  foreigner 
exploiting  the  commerce  of  Venezuela.  Crispin,  how- 
ever, wins  but  little  reward  from  him  and  after  Crispin's 
death,  his  widow's  lament  consists  merely  of  the  exclama- 
tion, "Poor  Crispin,  always  so  busy!"  Social  life  in  Ven- 
ezuela, the  smart  and  sarcastic  conversation  of  certain 
types,  the  priests,  the  pious  women,  the  general  idleness, 
even  the  earthquakes  and  the  revolutions  are  brilliantly 
«satiri7,pd.  The  revolutions  are  shown  to  be  often  the  prod- 
uct of  some  man's  personal  vanity  like  that  of  Joaquin  Luz 
who  appears  on  the  family  estate  at  the  head  of  a  band 
of  men  whom  he  has  persuaded  to  follow  him.  His  gaudy 
uniform  contrasts  with  their  ragged  clothes  while  the 
absurdity  of  his  pretensions  is  revealed  in  the  harangue 
which  he  makes  them.  "Redeemers!  Let  us  depart 
for  war.  Our  cause  demands  it.  Our  country  needs  it. 
Let  us  abandon  our  homes.  Let  us  sacrifice  our  lives  to 
overthrow  tyranny  and  restore  law  and  justice.    Weapons 


the  enemy  has.  Take  them  away  from  him.  Hurrah 
for  the  revolution."  The  harm  which  such  action  as 
Joaquin's  brings  on  his  family  is  depicted  in  the  arrival 
of  the  government  troops  a  few  moments  after  the  de- 
parture of  the  "redeemers."  The  soldiers  shoot  a  harm- 
less countryman,  the  cook's  son,  the  only  man  left  on 
the  estate,  as  he  tries  to  escape  them  by  running  away. 
Then  they  set  fire  to  the  farm  buildings,  shake  the  ripen- 
ing berries  from  the  coffee  trees,  carry  off  the  chickens, 
the  kitchen  utensils  and  "whatever  else  came  to  hand." 

When  President  Castro  fell  from  power,  Blanco  Fom- 
bona  was  again  imprisoned  by  the  new  President  Juan 
Vicente  Gomez.  He  brought  from  the  prison  a  volume 
of  verses  published  in  191 1  as  Cantos  de  la  Prision  y  del 
Destierroy  of  which  he  said,  "Every  strophe  is  a  monu- 
ment to  existence,  life  lived,  a  human  cry  of  a  man  who 
has  suffered."  In  these  poems  he  retaliated  on  his  jailers. 
In  one  of  them  he  depicted  Juan  Vicente  Gomez  in  a 
frenzy  in  a  forest  appealing  in  turn  to  the  trees,  the  wind, 
the  moss,  the  monkeys,  and  the  hamadryads.  Their  only 
answer  is  "Juan  Vicente  Gomez,  Traidor!" 

Blanco  Fombona  has  remained  away  from  Venezuela 
of  recent  years.  In  Paris  he  has  busied  himself  with 
various  literary  enterprises.  His  critical  articles  about 
Spanish-American  men  of  letters  in  the  Revista  de  America 
and  other  periodicals  have  been  valuable  and  interesting. 
His  most  ambitious  work  has  been  an  annotated  edition 
of  Bolivar's  correspondence  for  which  students  will  always 
owe  the  author  a  debt  of  gratitude. 

The  most  ardent  advocate  in  Venezuela  of  the  criollo 
in  literature  is  Gonzalo  Picon  Febres  (b.  i860),  who  has 


ably  practiced  his  own  preaching.  His  first  writings 
were  contained  in  two  volumes  of  poems,  Calendulas  and 
Claveles  encarnados  y  amarillos,  titles  suggestive  of  the 
Parnassian  verses  they  exhibit.  But  one  long  poem, 
La  Batalla  de  las  Queseras,  celebrates  the  victory  of  Gen- 
eral Paez  over  the  Spaniards.  After  writing  some  tales, 
Fidelia,  Ya  es  Hora,  Flor,  with  Venezuelan  setting  but 
inclining  to  imitation  of  Zola's  methods,  and  a  novel 
Nieve  y  Lodo,  a  picture  of  corrupt  living  among  society 
people,  Picon  Febres  published  in  1899  El  Sargento 

This  is  a  criollo  novel  of  the  purest  type,  unexcelled 
in  form  and  substance.  Its  reading  is  recommended  to 
anybody  who  desires  a  knowledge  of  Venezuelan  life. 
Whatever  details  language  cannot  make  clear  are  pictured 
in  the  many  photogravures  of  persons  and  landscapes. 

The  story  relates  the  fortunes  of  Felipe,  an  industrious 
small  farmer  snatched  from  his  home  to  serve  in  the  army 
of  Guzman  Blanco  against  the  rebel  Salazar.  During 
Felipe's  absence  his  daughter  Encarnacion  is  seduced  by 
the  wealthy  young  Don  Jacinto  Sandoval.  The  jealous 
and  rejected  suitor  Matias  sets  fire  to  the  house  where 
the  couple  are  in  expectation  of  trapping  and  destroying 
his  rival.  News  of  these  misfortunes  is  brought  to  Felipe 
when  he  is  convalescing  from  his  wounds  in  a  hospital. 
Though  weak  and  barely  able  to  drag  himself  along, 
Felipe  sets  out  for  home.  On  arriving  he  finds  his  build- 
ings destroyed  and  learns  that  his  wife  is  dead.  After 
praying  at  her  grave  in  the  village  cemetery,  he  seeks  out 
Don  Jacinto  Sandoval  and  shoots  him;  then  terminates 
his  own  life  by  throwing  himself  from  a  cliff. 


The  novel  abounds  in  realistic  pictures  of  Venezuelan 
life.  The  reader  is  introduced  to  the  "  pulperia  "  or  country 
store  and  the  men  who  resort  there  for  drink  and  conversa- 
tion. For  him  are  minutely  drawn  the  details  of  Felipe's 
home  and  simple  daily  existence  before  the  tragedy.  His 
daughter  Encarnacion  appears  in  all  her  finery  ready  for 
the  ball.  Felipe  with  the  tyranny  of  a  Venezuelan  father 
forbids  her  to  dance  with  anybody  but  Matias;  with  equal 
stubbornness  she  replies  to  his  threats,  "Beat  me  if  you 
wish  but  I  will  not  dance  with  Matias."  The  party  is 
attended  by  young  men  from  the  city  who  attempt  to 
lord  it  over  the  country  swains  till  they  retaliate  by  start- 
ing a  fight  which  in  turn  is  broken  up  by  the  cry  that  the 
recruiting  officers  are  coming.  In  the  army  Felipe's 
sturdy  reliability  raises  him  to  the  rank  of  sergeant, 
trusted  by  his  superior  officer,  General  Cipriano  Castro. 
He  is  interestingly  sketched  as  "lazily  swinging  in  his 
hammock  but  observant  of  details,  quick  to  act  but  spar- 
ing of  words,  ready  of  purse  and  pistol." 

As  a  scholar  Gonzalo  Picon  Febres,  doctor  of  science 
and  letters,  has  demonstrated  in  his  Literatura  venezolana 
en  el  Siglo  XIX  that  the  best  and  most  enduring  produc- 
tions of  Venezuelan  literature  from  Andres  Bello's  Agricul- 
tura  de  la  Zona  torrida  down  to  the  present  day  have  their 
roots  deep  in  the  soil  of  Venezuela.  This  history,  indica- 
tive of  an  immense  amount  of  labor  on  the  part  of  its 
author,  is  the  first  attempt  at  a  comprehensive  account 
in  its  chosen  field;  and  is  rendered  more  valuable  by  the 
portraits  of  nearly  every  writer  mentioned. 

Another  study  by  Picon  Febres  of  the  criollo  is  his 
Libro  Raroy  191 2.     Though  a  book  on  the  peculiarities 


of  Venezuelan  speech  completing  and  rectifying  Julio 
Calcano's  El  Castellano  en  Venezuela,  Picon  Febres  clarified 
his  explanations  of  most  of  the  terms  discussed  by  anec- 
dotes of  persons.  The  result  is  a  book  on  philology  so 
readable  as  almost  to  belong  to  the  domain  of  folklore. 

The  criollo  novel  easily  lends  itself  to  satire.  A  notable 
instance  is  Todo  un  Puehlo,  renamed  Villabrava  in  the 
Paris  edition  from  the  nickname  bestowed  on  Caracas 
by  the  author,  MigueTgduardo  Pardp.  The  tone  of  this 
picture  of  its  customs  is  indicated  by  the  author's  preface. 
"I  abandoned  literature  for  politics.  I  happened  to  be 
elected  a  member  of  Congress  and  I  was  stoned  in  the 
streets.  So  I  packed  my  valise  and  departed.  When  I 
arrived  in  Spain  my  friends  did  not  know  me  for  I  was 
thin  and  white — green  sometimes.  In  Paris  Gomez  Car- 
rillo  advised  me  to  eat  rare  meat,  but  Bonafoux  told  mo 
what  I  needed  was  human  flesh  dripping  blood." 

Bitter  satire  of  Caracas  and  hatred  of  Caesarism  in  Am- 
erican politics  also  fills  Idolos  Rotos  by  Manuel  Diaz  Rodri- 
guez. It  is  the  story  of  Alberto  Soria,  a  sculptor,  who  re- 
turns from  his  studies  in  Paris  to  practice  his  art  in  Vene- 
zuela. His  ideals  and  ambitions  come  into  harsh  conflict 
with  the  realities  of  life  and  the  people  about  him,  just  as 
the  fruits  of  his  labor,  his  statues  in  the  school  of  fine  arts 
are  smashed  when  the  building  is  turned  into  a  barracks 
by  the  military  authorities. 

Symbolical  interpretation  of  a  social  condition  or  the 
solution  of  a  psychological  problem  characterize  Diaz 
Rodriguez*  other  works  of  fiction.  In  Sangre  Patricia 
he  studies  Tulio  Arcos,  scion  of  a  family  long  prominent 
in   public   aflPairs    and   descended    from    a   conquistador. 


Tulio  Arcos  inherits  only  the  family  pride  and  uneasy 
temperament.  He  is  a  timid  neurotic,  afraid  in  the  dark, 
dreaming  of  great  things  and  poetry.  While  living  in  Paris 
he  is  married  by  proxy  to  a  young  lady  who  unfortunately 
dies  on  the  steamer  on  her  way  from  Venezuela  and  is 
buried  at  sea.  He  resolves  to  return  to  America.  On 
reaching  the  waters  of  the  tropics  he  imagines  that  his 
bride  is  a  siren  calling  to  him,  so  he  leaps  overboard  to 
join  her. 

Diaz  Rodriguez  is  an  artist  and  writes  the  most  graceful 
prose.  As  a  critic  he  continues  in  Venezuela  the  tradition 
established  by  Luis  Lopez  Mendez,  Cesar  Zumeta  and 
Pedro  Emilio  Coll  for  excellent  aesthetic  judgment.  Diaz 
Rodriguez'  discussions  of  certain  ideals  of  art  and  other 
theoretical  questions  collected  in  the  volumes  Confidencias 
de  Psiquis  and  Camino  de  Perfeccion  have  won  unlimited 
praise  from  Spanish-American  readers  who  delight  in  that 
form  of  literature.  They  place  him  with  J.  E.  Rodo  of 
Uruguay  as  an  intellectual  leader  of  the  modernista 



Mexican  literature  presents  great  variety  of  form,  not 
only  an  abundance  of  lyric  and  narrative  verse  but 
also  numerous  dramas,  prose  tales  and  novels.  This 
literary  activity  during  the  nineteenth  century  is  partly 
due  to  the  inheritance  of  culture  which  stood  on  a  high 
plane  in  Mexico  during  the  colonial  period.  The  numerous 
theaters  built  at  that  time  even  in  small  towns  provided 
an  opportunity  for  the  productions  of  local  dramatists. 
To  them  the  storied  past  of  Mexico  afforded  a  wide  field 
when  the  stimulus  of  the  romantic  movement  turned 
minds  in  that  direction.  The  history  of  the  Aztecs,  of 
the  conquistadores  and  of  the  heroes  of  the  struggle  for 
independence  furnished  themes  for  all  branches  of  litera- 
ture. On  the  other  hand,  the  classical  tradition  main- 
tained itself  in  a  steady  outpouring  of  religious  verse  both 
in  poetical  renderings  of  scripture  and  in  forms  intended 
to  combat  anticlericalism. 

/  The  character  of  the  population  has  exerted  as  much 
influence  on  Mexican  literature  as  on  Mexican  politics. 
The  educated  and  ruling  class  of  whites  live  marooned 
and  greatly  outnumbered  among  a  rude  and  depraved  pop- 
ulation of  Indians.  The  latter  are  the  laborers.  Among 
them  individuals  sometimes  rise  above  the  common  level. 
In  politics  there  has  been  constant  turmoil  in  the  effort 


MEXICO  335 

to  adjust  the  clashes  between  the  interests  of  the  property 
owners  and  the  laboring  classes.  Literature  naturally 
has  reflected  the  supremacy  of  the  one  or  the  other  party. 

After  the  separation  from  Spain  the  drama  was  a  form 
of  literature  much  cultivated  in  Mexico.  The  Cuban 
poet,  J.  M.  Heredia,  won  his  way  into  public  notice  by  his 
adaptations  of  French  plays  full  of  tirades  against  tyrants. 
A  native-bom  Mexican,  Manuel  Eduardo  de  Gorostiza 
(1789-185 1),  who  had  achieved  notable  successes  in  Spain 
by  his  comedies,  recast  some  of  them  for  the  Mexican 
public  and  made  translations  and  adaptations  of  such 
plays  as  Lessing's  Emilia  Galotti.  But  his  literary  career 
belongs  rather  to  the  history  of  Spanish  literature  than 
to  Mexican.  In  his  own  country  he  played  an  important 
part  as  a  politician  and  diplomat.  Gorostiza*s  comedies 
based  on  observation  of  Spanish  manners  were  not  so 
well  suited  to  please  a  Mexican  public  as  the  great  roman- 
tic dramas  in  the  style  of  Garcia  Gutierrez. 

When  the  first  editions  of  the  works  of  the  Spanish 
romantic  poets  and  dramatists  reached  the  book  store 
of  Mariano  Galvan  in  Mexico  City  and  fell  into  the  hands 
of  his  young  clerk  and  nephew,  Ignacio  Rodriguez  Galvan 
(1816-42),  the  seed  of  romanticism  had  crossed  the  seas 
and  fallen  where  it  would  flourish.  In  1838  was  produced 
the  first  drama  of  the  modem  type  written  in  Mexico, 
Rodriguez  Galvan's  Munoz,  Visitador  de  Mexico.  The 
scene  is  laid  in  the  early  colonial  days  during  the  reign 
of  Philip  II.  The  visitador,  portrayed  as  a  tyrant,  woos 
Celestina,  wife  of  Sotelo.  The  latter  in  revenge  incites 
a  rebellion  the  failure  of  which  results  in  Sotelo's  execu- 
tion.   At  the  sight  of  his  corpse  Celestina  dies. 


To  a  periodical  and  an  annual  review  which  his  uncle 
published  at  this  time  Rodriguez  Galvan  contributed 
several  short  tales  and  various  legends  in  verse.  The 
tales  are  mainly  tragic.  La  Hija  del  Oidor,  for  example, 
narrates  the  sad  story  of  a  young  girl,  saved  from  drown- 
ing by  a  criminal  who  ruins  her  and  persuades  her  to  elope 
with  him.  Surprised  in  the  attempt  he  kills  her.  The 
legends  in  verse  though  tragic  have  greater  artistic  value. 
In  one  of  them.  Mora,  3.  Mexican  insurgent  by  that  name 
loves  Angela,  the  daughter  of  a  loyalist  who  prefers  for  a 
son-in-law  Pinto.  Angela  is  married  to  Pinto  during 
Mora's  absence.  When  the  latter  returns  Angela  explains 
to  him  how  she  was  compelled  to  marry  Pinto;  but,  since 
she  prefers  to  remain  faithful  to  her  husband,  she  begs 
Mora  to  depart.  The  sudden  appearance  on  the  ^cene 
leads  to  a  duel  in  which  Mora  is  killed.  Angela  dies  of 

In  La  Vision  de  Moctezuma  Rodriguez  Galvan  related 
a  legend  of  the  period  preceding  the  conquest  of  Mexico. 
The  taxgatherers  of  the  Aztec  monarch  demand  the 
tribute  of  a  poor  old  woman,  Nolixtli.  Unable  to  pay, 
she  and  her  daughter  Teyolia  are  cruelly  ill  treated.  But 
Moctezuma,  coming  on  the  scene,  falls  in  love  with  Teyolia 
whom  he  orders  placed  in  his  royal  barge.  As  it  is  being 
rowed  across  the  lake,  Nolixtli  attempts  to  swim  in  pur- 
suit but  is  drowned.  Her  specter  appears  to  the  tyrant 
and  prophesies  the  arrival  of  the  Spaniards  who  will  ter- 
minate the  oppression  of  the  people  by  the  Aztec  rulers. 

The  same  machinery  of  a  vision  was  utilized  in  what 
may  be  considered  Rodriguez  Galvan's  masterpiece,  La 
Profecia  de  Guatemoc.    The  political  note  which  the  poet 


MEXICO  337 

sounded  in  some  of  his  lyrics  here  became  dominant. 
This  poem  opens  with  a  description  of  the  wood  of  Chapul- 
tepec  where  the  poet  is  wandering.  The  locaHty  reminds 
him  of  Guatemoc,  the  unfortunate  last  emperor  of  the 
Aztecs,  whom  Cortes  tortured  by  applying  fire  to  the 
bare  soles  of  his  feet.  "Come,"  the  poet  cries  aloud; 
"hear  me!"  The  Aztec  monarch  replies  by  appearing 
amid  terrifying  phenomena.  Displaying  his  charred  feet 
with  imprecations  on  the  cruelty  of  the  Europeans, 
Guatemoc  reveals  the  future  invasions  of  Mexico  which 
will  force  their  descendants  to  repay  with  blood  the  crimes 
of  their  fathers.  The  poet  then  awakes  choking  in  a 
river  of  blood. 

Rodriguez  Galvan's  legends  in  verse  and  occasional 
lyrics  brought  him  into  public  notice.  The  production 
of  another  drama.  El  Privado  del  Firrey,  of  the  same  type 
as  his  earlier  one  served  to  clinch  his  reputation.  Having 
long  desired  to  travel,  he  managed  by  means  of  his  lit- 
erary popularity  to  obtain  appointment  in  the  diplomatic 
service  to  South  America.  He  set  out  for  his  post,  but 
on  the  way  was  overtaken  in  Havana  by  a  fatal  sickness. 
When  one  considers  that  he  was  then  but  twenty-six 
years  old,  it  will  not  be  surprising  that  his  dramas  are 
somewhat  crude  in  form  •  and  suffer  from  the  defects 
common  to  the  romantic  school.  Nevertheless  they 
pointed  to  the  ideal  of  a  drama  essentially  Mexican, 
drawing  its  inspiration  from  the  traditions  of  national 
history  and  customs. 

This  ideal  was  not  followed  by  his  contemporary, 
Fernando  Calderon  y  Beltran  (1809-45).  I^  f^^t,  the 
latter  began  writing  plays  even  earlier  in  his  native  town 


of  Zacatecas.  Here  he  produced  in  1826  Reynaldo  y 
Elina,  the  best  of  many  early  pieces.  By  profession  he 
was  a  lawyer.  Thus  being  involved  in  politics,  he  joined 
the  rebels  of  his  state  against  Santa  Anna  and  was  wounded 
in  the  battle  of  Guadalupe  in  1836.  Banished  from  his 
native  place  for  complicity  in  the  revolt,  his  property 
gone,  he  came  to  Mexico.  Here  he  wrote  and  produced 
his  most  important  dramas.  El  Torneo  and  Ana  Bolena 
and  a  comedy,  A  Ninguna  de  las  tres.  The  latter  was  an 
imitation,  perhaps  even  a  parody  on  Breton  de  los  Her- 
reros'  Marcela  0  a  cual  de  las  ires;  but  the  scene  of  Cal- 
der6n*s  comedy  is  laid  in  Mexico,  and  gives  a  picture  of 
three  silly  maids  who  fail  to  please  a  fussy  suitor.  His 
dramas,  on  the  other  hand,  followed  rather  the  manner  of 
Garcia  Gutierrez  and  continued  to  please  the  Mexican 
public  after  Rodriguez  Galvan's  were  out  of  date.  Though 
Ana  Bolena  treated  a  topic  so  foreign  to  Mexico  as  the 
famous  amour  of  Henry  VHI  of  England,  yet  it  contained 
certain  commonplaces  which  the  public  liked  to  hear. 

Calderon  was  also  the  author  of  a  few  good  lyrics  and 
some  narrative  verse.  Of  the  former,  the  most  original  is 
La  Rosa  marchita  in  which  he  compared  the  present  state 
of  his  fortunes  to  the  withered  rose.  Popular,  however, 
was  El  Soldado  de  Libertad,  an  imitation  in  form  of  Es- 
pronceda*s  pirate  song;  and  El  Sueno  del  Tirano,  which 
pictures  the  nightmare  of  a  tyrant  steeped  in  crimes.  Of 
the  narrative  poems,  Adela  relates  the  sad  mischance  of 
a  young  man  arrested  as  he  was  on  the  way  to  marry  a 
lady  of  that  name,  and  shot  as  an  insurgent.  There  was 
an  echo  of  his  own  misfortunes  in  La  Vuelia  del  Desterrado. 
An  old  man  returned  to  the  site  of  his  former  home  to  find 

MEXICO  339 

nothing  recognizable  but  a  tree;  embracing/ it  he  expired 
from  grief.  Though  Calderon's  verses  place  him  among 
Mexico's  best  poets,  the  popularity  and  number  of  his 
plays  give  him  even  greater  fame  as  a  dramatist. 

Contemporaneous  with  the  romanticists  were  certain  ^ 
poets  who  belonged  to  the  conservative  and  clerical  party 
in  politics.  The  revolution  which  resulted  in  the  separa- 
tion of  Mexico  from  Spain  originated  with  the  property 
holding  classes,  1  so  that  the  constitution  adopted  in  1824 
gave  great  power  to  them  and  to  the  church  as  the  bul- 
wark of  the  state.  Attacks  more  or  less  successful  were 
made  by  the  liberals  on  this  system  during  the  decades 
of  the  thirties  and  forties.  The  loss  of  Texas  and  the 
war  with  the  United  States  enormously  weakened  the 
hold  of  the  conservative  party.  In  literature  the  party 
at  this  time  was  represented  by  Manuel  Carpio,  J.  J. 
Pesado  and  others  who  strove  by  religious  verse  to  con- 
tribute their  little  to  uphold  the  established  order. 

Manuel  Carpio  (i 791-1860)  was  a  physician  and  teacher 
of  science,  of  a  kindly  and  religious  disposition  who  wrote 
himself  into  his  verses  though  these  are  mainly  biblical 
stories  retold.  The  most  sustained  and  famous  is  the  La  ^ 
Cena  de  Baltasafy  but  he  also  versified  the  stories  of  the 
witch  of  Endor,  the  destruction  of  Sodom,  the  Annuncia- 
tion. Even  a  sonnet  on  Adam  and  Eve  is  a  mere  state- 
ment of  fact.  Carpio*s  suave  manner  made  these  agree- 
able reading.  Originally  published  in  periodicals,  the 
poems  were  collected  by  his  friend  Pesado. 

Jose  Joaquin  Pesado  (i 801-61)  was  a  leader  politically 
as  well  as  in  a  literary  way  of  the  conservatives,  and  held 
^  See  Chapter  III. 


various  cabinet  offices.  A  rich  man,  he  devoted  much 
of  his  time  to  purely  literary  pursuits.  His  many-sided 
activities  are  testified  to  by  the  facts  that  in  1838  he 
was  a  member  of  President  Bustamente's  cabinet,  and  in 
1839  he  published  the  first  edition  of  his  poems,  which 
were  received  with  great  acclaim  by  his  party.  His  frigid 
mannerisms  make  them  hard  to  admire  to-day.  His 
verse  renderings  of  portions  of  the  Bible  lack  the  feeling 
which  Carpio  could  put  into  his  lines.  Pesado's  imitations 
of  classical  lyrics,  even  those  with  sensual  titles,  and  his 
so-called  pictures  of  Mexican  life  are  couched  in  such 
general  terms  that  they  leave  no  definite  impression.  His 
longest  poem  of  religious  character  concerns  the  city  of 
Jerusalem.  The  poet  apostrophizes  the  city,  expresses 
his  regret  at  not  having  seen  it,  refers  to  its  misfortunes 
under  the  Mohammedans  and  the  crusaders,  describes 
it  as  it  will  appear  after  the  day  of  judgment,  and  hymn- 
ing the  risen  dead,  depicts  the  celestial  Jerusalem.  The 
best  of  the  ideas  in  this  poem  were  borrowed  from  Italian 
poets,  with  whose  works  Pesado  was  acquainted. 

His  most  enduring  work  and  one  for  which  Mexico 
must  remain  indebted  to  Pesado  is  entitled  Las  Aztecas, 
These  are  translations  of  the  poems  of  the  Aztec  monarch 
J^etzahualcoyotl,  who  flourished  before  the  coming  of  the 
Spaniards.  Pesado  commissioned  a  native  Indian  to 
translate  them  and  then  he  put  them  into  Castilian  verse. 
Though  the  suspicion  may  be  true  that  Pesado  injected 
some  of  his  own  Christian  ideas  into  these  poems,  for  the 
most  part  commonplaces  on  death  and  the  transitoriness 
of  earthly  affairs,  yet  they  reveal  a  grave  and  peculiar 
individuality  not  completely  obscured  by  Pesado's  version. 

MEXICO  341 

About  1855,  the  political  skies  loomed  dark  for  the 
conservatives.  The  religious  orders  were  being  threatened 
in  some  of  their  cherished  prerogatives  by  measures  pro- 
posed by  the  liberals.  To  combat  them  Pesado  founded 
La  Cruz,  a  journal  which  both  for  its  intrinsic  worth  as 
well  as  for  its  significance  must  be  considered  in  Mexican 
Hterary  history.  Its  publication  was  continued  till  the 
clerical  party  went  down  to  absolute  defeat  before  the 
promulgation  of  the  reform  constitution  of  1857. 

A  Catholic  poet  whose  verses  graced  the  pages  of  La 
Cruz  was  Alejandro  Arango  y  Escandon  (1821-83).  His 
work  is  sufficiently  characterized  by  the  titles  of  his  best 
odes,  Invocacion  a  la  Bondad  divina  and  En  la  inmaculada 
Concepcion  de  Nuestra  Senora. 

In  La  Cruz  appeared  the  first  work  of  a  younger  mem- 
ber of  the  conservative  party,  Jose  Maria  Roa  Barcena 
(i 827-1908).  He  was  later  a  supporter  of  the  French 
intervention  and  an  office  holder  under  Maximilian.  His 
originality  consisted  in  a  utilization  of  Mexican  history 
for  poetic  narratives.  In  this  respect  he  was  a  follower  of 
Rodriguez  Galvan.  But  Roa  Barcena  conceived  the 
idea  of  putting  his  pieces  together  in  chronological  order 
as  in  the  volumes  Ensayo  de  una  Historia  anecdota  de 
Mexico  and  Leyendas  mexicanas. 

The  best  ideas  of  the  latter  are  given  in  the  author's 
introduction.  "My  legend  Xochitl  gives  an  idea  of  the 
destruction  of  the  Toltec  monarchy  which  preceded  the 
others  established  in  Anahuac.  After  noting  the  traditions 
relative  to  the  emigration,  wanderings,  arrival,  enslave- 
ment, and  emancipation  of  the  Aztecs  and  the  foundation 
of  Mexico,  I  trace  some  of  their  domestic  customs  in  the 


Casamiento  de  Netzahualcoyotl  and  proceed  to  describe  in 
La  Princesa  Papantzin  the  prophecies  concerning  the 
coming  of  the  Europeans  and  the  symptoms  of  the  great 
change  brought  about  by  the  Spanish  conquest." 

Roa  Barcena  busied  himself  in  literary  production 
during  a  long  life.  His  last  volume  of  verses  was  published 
in  1895.  The  legendary  history  led  him  to  a  serious  study 
of  history  on  the  one  hand,  while  the  historical  anecdote 
incited  him  to  the  composition  of  original  tales  on  the  other 
as  well  as  translations  of  Hoffmann,  Dickens  and  Byron. 
Of  his  rendering  of  Byron's  tales  Menendez  y  Pelayo 
says: — "Seldom  has  Byron  been  so  well  interpreted  in 
Castilian  and  perhaps  never."  The  same  critic  said  of  his 
historical  legends  in  verse: — "I  consider  them  the  best  of 
their  kind.  .  .  .  The  Princesa  Papantzin  has  a  certain 
prophetic  grandeur." 

On  the  purely  historical  side  Mexico  is  indebted  to  Roa 
Barcena  for  an  excellent  account  of  the  war  with  the 
United  States  which  he  entitled  Recuerdos  de  la  Invasion 
norte-americana.  The  student  of  literature  will  be  in- 
terested in  his  biographies  of  Pesado,  Gorostiza  and 
others.  Narrative  verse  like  his  Mexican  legends 
dealing  with  episodes  in  Mexican  history  has  bulked 
large  enough  to  form  almost  a  special  branch  of  Mexican 

Belonging  to  this  ballad  type  of  verse  is  the  work  of  an 
earlier  poet,  Jose  de  Jesus  Diaz  (1809-46).  As  his  poems 
long  remained  uncollected  they  were  soon  forgotten  and 
had  no  influence  on  other  writers.  But  they  possessed  a 
peculiar  excellence,  due  to  his  personal  knowledge  of 
geographical  conditions.    Being  a  soldier  in  the  army  op- 



erating  near  Vera  Cruz  and  the  state  of  Jalapa,  he  could 
place  the  popular  traditions  in  their  correct  setting  amid 
the  rich  vegetation  of  that  region  when  narrating  episodes 
of  the  first  uprisings  against  the  Spanish.  The  best  of 
these  legends  are  La  Cruz  de  Madera  and  El  Puente  del 
Diablo.  Somewhat  more  historical  are  La  Orden  relating 
the  capture  of  Oaxaca  by  Morelos  and  El  Fusilamiento  de 

Diaz'  work  was  not  without  influence  at  least  on  his  son, 
Juan  Diaz  Covarrubias  (1837-59).  At  the  early  age  of 
twenty  he  published  a  volume  of  poems,  Pdginas  del  Cor- 
azon,  written  in  the  manner  of  the  Spanish  poet  Zorrilla 
then  living  in  Mexico.  But  Diaz  Covarrubias*  place  in 
Mexican  letters  is  founded  on  his  historical  novel  Gil 
Gomez  el  Insurgente.  His  other  essays  in  fiction  are  in- 

The  protagonist  of  this  novel  was  one  of  those  remark- 
able persons  unknown  to  their  contemporaries,  but  famous 
to  :)osterity.  Gil  Gomez,  according  to  the  author,  was 
present  or  associated  with  the  chief  occurrences  in  Mexico 
between  18 10  and  181 2.  In  the  intervals  between  battles 
he  managed  to  carry  on  an  exciting  love  affair,  so  that 
his  adventures  offer  the  reader  an  interesting  picture  of 
the  period. 

Diaz  Covarrubias  had  scarcely  completed  his  novel  be- 
fore events  allowed  him  to  imitate  his  hero.  In  .857  the 
liberal  party  proposed  in  the  Mexican  congress  a  new 
constitution  to  supersede  that  of  1824.  The  bitter  opposi- 
tion to  it  by  the  conservatives  led  to  an  armed  struggle. 
The  liberals,  though  beaten  at  first,  reorganized  under 
Benito  Juarez.    When  the  latter  was  planning  an  attack  on 


Mexico  City  in  1859,  Diaz  Covarrubias  joined  one  of  the 
numerous  small  groups  which  were  gathering  in  various 
parts  of  the  country.  His  band,  however,  was  surprised 
by  the  soldiers  of  General  Marquez  before  it  was  fairly 
organized,  and  Diaz  Covarrubias  was  one  of  sixteen 

A  poet  more  fortunate  than  he  was  Juan  Valle  (1838-64) 
because  he  lived  to  see  his  party  triumphant,  and  even  to 
enjoy  a  small  pension  from  his  friends  in  power.  As  he 
had  been  blind  from  the  age  of  three,  it  is  remarkable  that 
he  could  take  so  active  a  part  among  fighting  men.  At 
any  rate  his  fiery  patriotic  verse  roused  them  to  enthu- 
siasm. To  those  who  know  his  misfortune,  the  many 
lines  in  his  poems  alluding  to  his  blindness  have  a  truly 
pathetic  ring.  Especially  touching  is  a  poem  with  the 
refrain,  "I  suffer  so  much." 

The  political  events  of  the  decade  of  the  sixties  were 
reflected  in  literature,  both  by  the  presentation  of  the 
stirring  events  of  the  period,  and  in  the  persons  and  doc- 
trines of  the  writers.  Mexicans  term  this  epoch,  beginning 
with  the  legislative  proposal  for  a  new  constitution  in  1857, 
"la  reforma."  The  reforms  consisted  in  a  liberalization 
of  the  laws,  respecting  the  freedom  of  the  press  and  of 
speech  and  the  secularization  of  church  lands.  By  such 
means  it  was  hoped  to  undermine  the  political  power  of 
the  clergy.  The  elements  favoring  these  changes  in  the 
constitution  gradually  grouped  themselves  under  the 
leadership  of  Benito  Juarez  (1806-72).  His  pure  Indian 
blood  is  indicative  of  the  character  of  the  revolution. 
After  years  of  fighting  Juarez  succeeded  in  1861  in  ob- 
taining complete  control  of  the  government,  and  in  bring- 

MEXICO  345 

ing  about  the  confiscation  of  much  of  the  land  held  by  the 
clerical  corporations. 

In  handling  the  business  of  state,  however,  Juarez 
played  into  the  hands  of  the  conservative  and  clerical 
party,  who  were  intriguing  for  European  intervention  by 
making  the  disastrous  mistake  of  repudiating  the  foreign 
debt  of  Mexico.  To  enforce  its  payment  English,  Spanish 
and  French  troops  were  landed  at  Vera  Cruz.  A  body  of 
French  soldiers  advancing  into  the  interior  were  routed 
in  a  smart  fight  with  the  Mexicans  under  General  Zaragoza 
on  May  5th,  1862,  an  event  which  was  long  celebrated  as  a 
national  holiday,  "el  cinco  de  mayo."  The  government 
of  Louis  Napoleon  retaliated  by  sending  a  more  formidable 
force  under  Marshal  Bazaine  and  by  inducing  Maximilian 
of  Austria  to  accept  the  throne  as  Emperor  of  Mexico. 
Juarez  and  his  guerillas  were  obliged  to  retreat  to  the 
northern  mountains.  In  1867,  however,  the  French  army 
was  withdrawn  leaving  Maximilian  to  his  fate,  for  without 
the  French  the  Mexican  imperialists  were  speedily  de- 
feated by  Juarez.  Maximilian  was  taken  prisoner  and 
shot  at  a  locality  known  as  the  Cerro  de  las  Campanas. 
Juarez  was  elected  president  in  August,  1867,  and  again  in 

The  year  1868  witnessed  an  important  revival  of  letters 
in  Mexico.  Newspapers  were  established,  literary  soci- 
eties formed  and  literary  evenings  held  when  poems,  prose, 
articles  and  addresses  were  read  to  enthusiastic  listeners. 
Beside  Juarez  other  men  of  Indian  blood  came  into  prom- 
inence, notably  Ignacio  Ramirez  (1818-79)  and  Ignacio 
Manuel  Altamirano  (1834-93).  Just  as  their  poHtical 
activities  were  directed  against  the  land  holdings  of  the 


clergy,  their  literary  and  philosophical  doctrines  were  in- 
clined to  extreme  liberalism.  Ignacio  Ramirez,  by  his 
savage  articles  signed  "El  Nigromante,"  won  for  him- 

'  self  a  reputation  as  a  Mexican  Voltaire  for  he  openly  pro- 
fessed atheism  in  discussions  concerning  the  existence  of 
God.     He  introduced  the  study  of  modem  psychology 

"*  into  Mexico.  The  constructive  side  of  his  criticism  of  life, 
a  sort  of  stoic  philosophy,  he  set  forth  in  verses  written 

\  with  care  and  classical  finish. 

With  Guillermo  Prieto  and  Altamirano  he  edited  the 
important  liberal  journal  El  Correo  de  Mexico.  Guillermo 
Prieto  (1818-97)  deserves  praise  for  his  narrative  poems 
of  episodes  in  Mexican  history.  Altamirano  became  one 
of  the  most  important  Mexican  men  of  letters. 

Bom  a  full-blooded  Indian,  Altamirano  went  to  school 
for  the  first  time  at  the  age  of  fourteen,  ignorant  even  of 
the  Spanish  language.  As  his  father  had  just  been  ap- 
pointed alcalde  of  the  village,  the  schoolmaster  took  a 
little  more  than  ordinary  interest  in  the  lad  in  whom  he 
discovered  unusual  intelligence.  The  schoolmaster  en- 
couraged him  to  attend  the  Institute  of  Toluca,  open 
according  to  law  to  free  attendance  by  young  Indians. 
Again  his  studiousness  and  capacity  captivated  his  teachers 
who  assisted  him  to  go  to  Mexico  City  to  study  at  the 
Colegio  de  San  Juan  Letran.  Like  other  students  he  par- 
ticipated in  the  excitement  of  the  politics  of  the  day  and 
enlisted  in  the  army  of  Juarez.  Under  the  orders  of 
Porfirio  Diaz  at  the  attack  on  La  Puebla  he  distinguished 
himself  for  bravery.  In  1861,  elected  a  member  of  con- 
gress at  the  age  of  twenty-seven,  his  first  important 
speech  was  delivered  against  a  law  of  general  amnesty 

MEXICX)  347 

which  his  fiery  and  bloodthirsty  eloquence  succeeded  in 
defeating.  After  the  expulsion  of  the  French  he  received 
from  the  public  treasury  by  the  order  of  President  Juarez 
the  repayment  of  a  considerable  sum  of  money  which  he 
had  expended  during  the  war.  With  this  money  he  es- 
tablished the  Correo  de  Mexico. 

From  that  time  Altamirano  was  a  prominent  figure  in 
Mexican  literature,  editing  various  periodicals  and  found- 
ing or  encouraging  literary  societies.  He  also  conducted 
classes  as  a  professor  of  law,  of  history  and  of  literature. 
His  published  remains  consist  of  poems,  addresses  and 
tales.  His  semi-historical  novel,  Clemencia  La  Navidad  en 
la  Montana,  giving  interesting  pictures  of  Mexican  life 
while  relating  the  exemplary  conduct  of  its  hero,  a  Chris- 
tian priest,  has  reached  a  fifth  edition.  Of  the  many  gov- 
ernmental positions  held  by  Altamirano  the  most  important 
was  that  of  consul  general  at  Barcelona,  to  which  he  was 
appointed  in  1889. 

Altamirano's  early  verses  belong  to  the  erotic  type. 
Later  in  life  when  he  collected  his  fugitive  pieces  in  a 
volume  he  combined  four  of  them  into  a  connected  whole 
with  an  explanation  in  prose  that  he  had  attempted  an 
imitation  of  Theocritus,  in  describing  the  different  periods 
of  the  day  in  his  native  province  of  Acapulco,  while  the 
human  beings  who  figure  in  the  poems  appear  merely  for 
the  purpose  of  giving  animation  and  relief  to  nature. 
Perhaps  a  scientific  interest  may  have  prevailed  in  his 
mind  when  he  wrote  La  Flor  del  Alba  and  La  Salida  del 
Sol  since  he  calls  the  many  trees,  plants  and  birds  by  their 
Indian  names,  but  in  Los  Naranjos  the  orange  trees  in 
blossom  like  the  rest  of  nature  suggest  love  to  the  young 


man  who  invites  his  beloved  to  "leave  her  bath"  and 
"come  quickly,"  and  in  Las  AmdpolaSy  descriptive  of  the 
midday  heat,  the  lover  begs  the  beauty  "to  have  pity," 
but  "with  languid    glance   she   replies  with  a  smile — y 

?»  nada  mas."  There  is  a  torrid  directness  about  these 
idyllic  pictures  which  is  characteristically  Mexican.  An- 
other poem,  Las  Abe j as,  contains  the  advice  to  a  lovelorn 
swain  to  observe  the  bees,  how  they  seek  out  humble 
flowers;  like  them  turning  away  from  the  proud  false 
beauty,  he  should  seek  the  honey  of  love  among  the 
simple  flowers.  Altamirano's  later  verses  were  more 
purely  descriptive,  and  in  his  journalistic  work  he  was 
rather  a  stem  censor  of  morals. 

But  his  contemporary,  Manuel  Maria  Flores  (1840-85), 
wrote  erotic  poetry  of  the  most  straightforward  type. 
Resembling  the  least  ideal  of  Alfred  de  Musset's  work, 
he  delights  in  the  physical  effects  of  love.  Kisses  abound 
in  his  lines;  he  dreams  that  at  midnight  his  beloved  knocked 
at  his  door;  "perhaps  at  the  terrible  contact  of  thy  lips 
my  heart  would  break."  He  published  his  poems  under 
the  apt  title  of  Pasionarias.  Of  this  collection  the  best 
is  Bajo  las  Palmas;  and  the  worst  from  a  certain  point  of 
view.  La  Orgia,  which  seems  to  have  been  written  after 
an  attack  of  delirium  tremens.  Later  poems  as  Hojas 
Secas  reveal  weariness  of  sensual  excitement;  and  certain 
it  is  that  after  living  a  freethinker  he  died  a  Catholic. 

'^    His  vigorous  ode,  J  la  Patria  en  el  5  de  mayo  de  i862y 

shows  what  he  might  have  accomplished  in  political  verse. 

Flores  is  said  to  be  the  most  widely  read  of  Mexican  poets. 

Of  the  same  age  Jose  Rosas  Moreno  (1838-83)  preferred 

the  grave  and  reflective  kind  of  poetry.     He  came  into 

MEXICO  349 

notice  through  an  elegy  on  the  death  of  Juan  Valle.  As  a 
journalist  he  was  connected  with  various  papers  and  also 
essayed  the  drama.  But  his  special  originality  consisted 
in  verses  on  domestic  topics  and  his  fables.  The  American 
poet,  Bryant,  thus  translated  one  which  pleased  him. 

The  Elm  and  the  Vine 

"Uphold  my  feeble  branches 
By  thy  strong  arms,  I  pray.** 
Thus  to  the  Elm  her  neighbor 
The  Vine  was  heard  to  say. 
**Else,  lying  low  and  helpless, 
A  wretched  lot  is  mine, 
Crawled  o'er  by  every  reptile, 
And  browsed  by  hungry  kine." 
The  Elm  was  moved  to  pity. 
Then  spoke  the  generous  tree: 
"My  hapless  friend,  come  hither. 
And  find  support  in  me." 
The  kindly  Elm,  receiving 
The  grateful  Vine's  embrace, 
Became,  with  that  adornment, 
The  garden's  pride  and  grace; 
Became  the  chosen  covert 
In  which  the  wild-birds  sing; 
Became  the  love  of  shepherds. 
And  glory  of  the  spring. 
Oh,  beautiful  example 
For  youthful  minds  to  heed! 
The  good  we  do  to  others 
Shall  never  miss  its  meed. 
The  love  of  those  whose  sorrows 
We  lighten  shall  be  ours; 
And  o'er  the  path  we  walk  in 
That  love  shall  scatter  flowers. 


The  skepticism  which  Altamirano  and  Ignacio  Ramirez 
set  forth  in  their  prose  and  verse  was  furthered  by  the 
teaching  at  the  University  of  Mexico.  The  clash  between 
science  and  religion  due  to  the  spread  of  the  theory  of 
^volution  was  presented  by  a  student  of  medicine,  Manuel 
Acuna  (1849-73),  in  a  daring  poem  which  made  him  fa- 
mous by  the  sensation  it  excited.  In  Ante  un  Cadaver 
he  discussed  the  problem  of  existence.  According  to  the 
poem  science  finds  that  everything  finishes  in  the  tomb. 
Immortality  resides  only  in  matter.  The  body  given 
back  to  earth  may  ascend  again  to  life  as  wheat  or  flowers; 
"for  the  being  that  dies  is  another  being  that  comes  into 
existence:  matter,  immortal  as  glory,  never  dies." 

The  enthusiasm  aroused  by  Acufia's  poems  resulted  in 
the  founding  of  a  literary  society  to  encourage  the  writing 
of  verse.  It  was  named  after  the  Aztec  poet-king  Net- 
zahualcoyotl  and  elected  for  its  president  Altamirano. 
To  the  versifiers  of  the  society,  among  whom  should  be 
mentioned  Agustin  F.  Cuenca  (1850-84),  every  poem 
became  the  resolution  of  a  social  problem. 

Acuna  won  a  triumph  also  with  a  play,  which  kept  the 
stage  for  some  time,  entitled  El  Pasado.  It  dealt  with  an 
artist  who  married  a  girl  who  had  been  ruined  by  a  rich 
villain.  After  years  of  residence  in  Paris,  they  return 
to  Mexico  where  the  artist  attempts  to  introduce  his  wife 
into  polite  society.  She  is  pursued  by  her  former  lover 
assisted  by  an  equally  villainous  friend.  In  spite  of  the 
husband's  efforts  these  men  so  drive  the  woman  to  despair 
that  she  leaves  her  home  and  commits  suicide  in  order  to 
spare  her  husband  further  disgrace  and  annoyance. 

Acuna*s  own  death  by  suicide  at  the  early  age  of  twenty- 

MEXICO  351 

four  seemed  to  give  the  right  to  those  who  were  shocked 
by  his  bold  skepticism.  But  his  last  poem  explains  the 
act  as  due  to  disappointment  in  love.  The  poem  relates 
the  marriage  of  a  young  girl  to  another  man  than  the  one 
she  loves.  After  years  have  elapsed  she  comes  one  day 
upon  a  tomb.  The  poet  explains  to  her  curious  question- 
ing, "You  know  the  dead;  you  know  the  executioner." 

While  the  mental  attitude  of  a  certain  part  of  the  Mexi- 
cans was  exhibited  in  the  verses  of  Acuiia  and  his  friends, 
the  populace  found  their  spokesman  in  Antonio  Plaza  ^ 
(1833-82).  His  was  the  bitter  voice  of  the  mob  that  hates 
and  curses.  His  skeptical  sarcastic  diatribes  won  him  a 
temporary  popularity  which  may  have  solaced  him  for 
the  loss  of  a  foot  injured  by  a  cannon  ball  in  1861.  From 
different  angles  Acuiia  and  Plaza  epitomize  the  ideas  and 
emotions  of  their  epoch. 

Another  type  of  verse  writing  which  assumed  large 
proportions  during  the  seventies  was  the  production  of 
ballads  dealing  with  various  periods  of  revolutionary  * 
history.  The  most  assiduous  producer  of  them  was  Guil- 
lermo  Prieto.  Several  newspapers  vigorously  encouraged 
writing  ballads  so  that  some  are  found  among  the  poems 
of  nearly  every  writer.  In  1 9 10,  as  part  of  the  festivities 
of  the  centenary  of  the  Mexican  revolution,  the  editors 
of  the  series  of  books  known  as  the  Biblioteca  de  Autores 
Mexicanos  collected  the  best  of  the  historical  ballads  and 
printed  them  in  chronological  order  in  two  volumes  with  < 
the  title  of  Romancero  de  la  Guerra  de  Independencia, 

Literary  interest  in  Mexican  warfare  did  not,  however, 
confine  itself  to  ballads  but  also  extensively  cultivated 
fiction.    The  novel  as  a  variety  of  literature  has  flourished 


in  Mexico  throughout  the  nineteenth  century  and  when- 
ever its  theme  at  all  concerns  contemporary  life  it  offers 
many  reahstic  details.  It  will  be  remembered  that  both 
Rodriguez  Galvan  and  Pesado  practiced  the  short  story, 
but  the  example  of  Fernandez  Lizardi  in  his  Periquillo 
Sarniento  had  no  followers  before  1845.  ^^  that  year 
appeared  Manuel  Payno's  El  Pistol  del  Diablo.  The 
author  was  a  man  of  some  education  and  literary  talent 
which  he  had  strengthened  by  travel  and  acquaintance 
with  European  literatures.  He  attempted  a  study  of 
Mexican  types,  customs  and  language  very  similar  to 
those  described  in  the  Periquillo;  and  his  book  met  with  a 
popularity  almost  as  great. 

Justo  Sierra  (18 14-61)  wrote  a  novel  in  the  form  of 
letters,  Ufi  Ano  en  el  Hospital  de  San  Ldzaro  for  the  first 
literary  journal  published  in  Yucatan  in  1841.  Sierra 
desired  to  establish  a  special  literature  of  Yucatan  and 
with  this  end  in  view  wrote  a  historical  novel  La  Hija  del 
Judio  based  on  an  incident  from  the  early  annals  of  his 
province.  Don  Alonso  de  la  Cerda,  justicia  mayor  of 
Yucatan  in  1666,  having  no  children,  adopted  Maria, 
the  daughter  of  a  woman  who  died  in  his  house.  When  the 
girl  became  of  marriageable  age,  it  is  the  duty  of  a  priest 
who  has  hitherto  kept  the  secret  to  reveal  the  fact  that 
Maria  is  the  child  of  a  Jew.  Her  adoptive  father  and  her 
betrothed  lover  are,  however,  unmoved  in  their  love  for 
her.  Justo  Sierra  was  a  successful  and  learned  lawyer. 
At  the  period  known  as  the  reform  he  was  chosen  by  the 
government  to  draw  up  a  code  of  the  civil  law  of  Mexico, 
a  labor  which  he  accomplished  at  the  ruination  of  his 

MEXICO  353 

His  son  by  the  same  name,  Justo  Sierra  (1848-19 12) 
was  a  diligent  and  prolific  man  of  letters,  a  poet  and  a 
critic  as  well  as  a  successful  lawyer.  In  journalism  he 
introduced  the  light  and  gracefully  satiric  French  style 
of  writing,  which  pleased  his  readers.  For  a  long  time  he 
was  a  prominent  figure  among  lovers  of  good  literature 
in  Mexico.  He  was  the  author  of  various  tales,  poems 
and  books  of  travel. 

The  influence  of  the  French  Romantic  novelists,  par- 
ticularly of  the  type  of  Alphonse  Karr  and  Eugene  Sue, 
made  itself  felt  about  the  middle  of  the  century.  In  imi- 
tation of  the  former  was  written  Guerra  de  Treinta  Anos 
by  Fernando  Orozco  y  Berra.  The  story  depicts  a  soul 
once  eager  for  love  and  enjoyment,  but  now  filled  with 
disillusion.  It  is  the  personal  history  of  the  author  who 
died  soon  after  its  publication.  His  friends  pointed  out  a 
certain  beautiful  young  lady  as  the  original  of  the  scornful 
and  fickle  Serafina  so  that  to  her  house  began  a  veritable 
pilgrimage  of  the  romantically  inclined. 

The  sentimental  tale  was  also  cultivated  by  Florencio 
del  Castillo  who  gave  to  his  heroines  the  most  complete 
beauty  of  person  and  character,  angels  of  sweetness, 
whose  passionate  love  ends  not  in  marriage  but  in  suffering 
or  grief.  But  the  tales  have  the  considerable  merit  of 
presenting  accurate  pictures  of  life  among  the  lower  and 
middle  classes  of  Mexican  society. 

As  a  study  of  social  conditions  should  also  be  mentioned 
Ironias  de  la  Vida  by  Pantaleon  Tovar  (1828-76)  who 
gave  a  certain  realistic  touch  to  his  novel  by  introducing 
the  argot  of  the  lower  classes.  Tovar  was  also  a  prolific 
versifier  on  familiar  topics. 


The  historical  novel  can  show  many  notable  examples 
in  Mexican  literature  though  they  seldom  can  be  rightly 
called  more  than  embellished  history.  After  the  success 
of  Gil  Gomez  el  Insurgente  whose  unfortunate  author, 
Juan  Diaz  Covarrubias,  was  so  cruelly  executed,  a  series 
of  similar  novels  dealing  generally  with  contemporary 
events  appeared.  The  story  of  the  French  invasion  which 
terminated  in  1867  by  the  execution  of  the  Emperor 
Maximilian  was  given  to  the  reading  public  by  Juan 
Antonio  Mateos  in  a  so-called  novel  whose  title,  El  Cerro 
de  las  CampanaSy  bore  the  same  name  as  the  locality  where 
the  Emperor  was  shot.  Its  publication  was  an  event  in 
Mexican  literary  annals  on  account  of  the  extremely 
large  number  of  copies  sold.  The  author  being  an  eye- 
witness of  much  that  he  described,  competent  critics 
are  inclined  to  the  opinion  that  his  book  gives  as  accurate 
an  idea  of  what  really  happened  as  can  possibly  be  gleaned 
from  the  badly  mutilated  and  falsified  official  records. 
Moreover,  to  the  Mexican  people  El  Cerro  de  las  Campanas 
is  the  source  of  their  knowledge  of  the  French  invasion. 
Mateos  wrote  other  novels  and  even  some  plays  without 
meeting  with  the  same  success. 

The  French  period  was  also  depicted  by  General  Vi- 
cente Riva  Palacio  (1832-96)  in  Calvario  y  Tabor.  He 
had  seen  the  heroism  of  the  common  soldiers  under  his 
command  in  the  central  part  of  the  republic  as,  hungry  and 
naked,  with  prices  on  their  heads,  they  maintained  a 
stubborn  war  against  the  invader,  relying  for  support 
on  captured  spoils  even  at  the  very  gates  of  the  capital. 
He  did  not  hesitate  to  describe  so  horrible  a  thing  as  the 
poisoning  of  a  whole  division  of  soldiers.    On  the  other 



hand,  interesting  descriptions  of  various  localities  on  the 
southern  coast  and  the  hot  land  of  Michoacan  afford 
agreeable  reading.  The  author  was  personally  so  popular 
that  the  book  met  with  considerable  success  so  that  he  was 
encouraged  to  try  his  hand  on  a  novel  drawn  from  the 
archives  of  the  Mexican  inquisition,  entitled  Monja  y  % 
Casada,  virgen  y  mdrtir.  Riva  Palacio  was  an  important 
personage  in  the  journalism  of  his  day  and  known  favor- 
ably as  a  poet. 

A  more  fertile  novelist  was  Manuel  Sanchez  Marmol 
(i 839-191 2),  a  journalist  who  served  with  the  Republican 
forces  at  the  time  of  the  French  intervention.  He  early 
performed  a  service  to  Mexican  letters  by  rescuing  from 
oblivion  the  verses  of  his  fellow  natives  of  Yucatan,  es- 
pecially those  of  Quintana  Roo  and  Alpuche  which  he 
published  in  1861  under  the  title  of  Poetas  Yucatecos  y  ^ 
Tabasquenos.  The  titles  of  some  of  his  novels  are  El 
Misionero  de  la  Cruz,  PocahontaSy  a  political  satire,  Juanita 
Sousdy  the  story  of  an  unfortunate  love  aflPair,  and  Jnton 
Perez.  The  last  named  portrays  the  troublous  times  as 
the  author  witnessed  them  in  the  province  of  Tabasco. 
Anton  was  the  typical  bright  Indian  boy  who  has  at- 
tracted the  attention  of  the  village  priest.  The  latter's 
influence,  however,  fails  to  obtain  for  him  the  coveted 
scholarship  in  the  seminary  at  Merida,  so  he  is  obliged 
to  remain  as  an  ordinary  poor  laborer  helping  to  support 
his  relatives.  When  the  French  come,  he  enters  the  local 
guards  who  on  account  of  his  intelligence  make  him  a 
lieutenant.  As  a  boy  at  school  he  had  been  annoyed  by 
the  childish  admiration  of  a  girl  of  wealthy  parents,  Ro- 
salba  del  Riego.    Now  that  they  are  both  grown,  he  falls 


in  love  with  her  but  she  rejects  his  attentions.  An  aunt 
of  hers,  Doiia  Socorro  Castrejon,  however,  conceives  a 
passion  for  the  handsome  young  soldier.  By  her  he  is 
induced  to  desert  to  the  imperialist  cause.  In  a  battle 
that  follows  Anton  is  mortally  wounded.  Then  the  author 
drives  home  to  the  reader's  mind  the  lesson  of  the  man 
who  has  turned  traitor  to  his  country  through  the  influence 
of  a  foolish  love.  Anton,  helpless  from  his  wounds,  is 
finally  despatched  and  his  body  eaten  by  vultures.  "Who- 
ever has  read  it,"  says  the  critic  Francisco  Sosa,  "will 
never  forget  how  Anton  Perez  died." 

A  thoroughgoing  reconstruction  of  the  period  of  the 
^French  intervention  was  attempted  by  Alfonso  M.  Mal- 
donado  (b.  1849)  in  his  novel  Nobles  y  PlebeyoSy  written, 
according  to  the  preface  to  his  children,  that  they  might 
form  an  exact  idea  of  the  years  from  1862  to  1867  from 
the  relation  of  his  personal  experiences.  Writing  years 
after  the  events  the  author  lays  claim  to  an  impartiality 
of  judgment  acquired  by  long  experience  as  a  judge. 
Maldonado  wrote  many  shorter  tales  and  historical 

Some  of  these  belong  to  that  considerable  body  of 
Mexican  literature  which  lies  on  the  borderland  between 
fiction  and  history.  The  tales  of  Manuel  Dominguez 
and  Rivera  y  Rio,  for  example,  are  fiction,  while  those  of 
Hilarion  Frias  y  Soto  and  Luis  Gonzalez  Obregon  are 
mainly  popular  history. 

Of  serious  historical  students  there  have  been  a  great 
number  in  Mexico.  Carlos  M.  Bustamente  and  Lucas 
Alaman  treated  the  history  of  Mexico  with  a  large  degree 
of  partisanship,  but  Joaquin  Garcia  Icazbalceta  (1825-94) 

MEXICO  357 

was  painstaking  and  accurate  in  his  exhaustive  erudition 
concerning  the  period  of  Spanish  control.     Alfredo  Cha-    — n 
vero  delved  deep  into  the  history  and  antiquities  of  the 
aboriginal  races. 

In  the  matter  of  biography  the  student  owes  a  debt 
to  Francisco  Sosa  (b.  1848)  who  has  also  written  much 
literary  criticism  of  importance.  For  literary  history  the 
only  work  is  the  unsatisfactory  and  defective  Historia 
critica  de  la  Literatura  en  Mexico  by  Francisco  Pimentel. 
Victoriano  Agiieros  (1854-1911),  during  the  golden  period 
of  the  early  Diaz  regime,  attempted  to  acquaint  Spanish 
readers  with  Mexican  authors  by  writing  articles  for 
foreign  periodicals.  Later  he  performed  a  great  service 
by  printing  popular  editions  of  the  best  Mexican  writers 
in  the  series  entitled  Biblioteca  de  Autores  Mexicanos. 

The  death  of  Juarez  in  1872  was  followed  by  a  period 
of  political  uncertainty  and  turmoil  terminated  four 
years  later  by  the  elevation  of  Porfirio  Diaz  (i 830-191 5) 
to  the  presidency.  His  pacification  of  the  country  gave 
opportunity  to  a  fresh  growth  of  literary  effort,  especially 
in  the  theater.  Like  the  other  literature  of  this  decade 
the  drama  dealt  mainly  with  Mexican  history.  The  most 
successful  and  popular  dramatist,  who  for  his  work  was 
dubbed  "the  restorer  of  the  theater,"  was  Jose  Peon  y  ^ 
Contreras  (1843-1909). 

A  native  of  Yucatan  he  came  to  Mexico  to  study  medi- 
cine, but  in  his  leisure  moments  tried  his  hand  at  narrative 
verse  and  the  prose  tale  as  well  as  the  drama.  The  com- 
pHcated  and  tragic  plots  of  his  plays  are  laid  during  the 
colonial  period.  The  personages  speak  the  language  of 
exalted  passions  and  are  much  alike.    In  fact  the  author 


wrote  too  much  and  too  swiftly  for  anything  else  to  be 
the  case.  However,  the  public  was  charmed  by  the  love- 
lorn maids  and  romantic  gallants  whose  tragic  stories 
were  presented  to  its  attention.  The  titles  of  the  dramas 
are  attractive:  La  Hija  del  Rey,  produced  in  1876,  Hasia 
el  Cielo,  Luchas  de  Honra  y  de  Amory  also  of  1876;  El 
Sacrificio  de  la  Vida,  Por  el  Joy  el  del  Sombrero,  1878;  and 
many  others  some  of  which  have  never  been  staged. 

The  last  named  is  a  fair  example  of  them  all.  Dofia 
Mencia  loves  Don  Juan  de  Benavides  but  is  beloved  by 
Inigo,  the  son  of  a  squire  who  died  defending  the  honor 
of  her  father.  The  young  men  are  about  to  depart  from 
New  Spain  for  the  war  in  Flanders,  liiigo  because  his  love 
is  not  reciprocated,  Benavides  because  he  has  learned  an 
impediment  preventing  his  marriage  to  Doiia  Mencia. 
Higo  discovers  the  identity  of  his  more  fortunate  rival 
by  recognizing  the  "jewel  of  his  hat."  Doiia  Mencia's 
father,  after  Benavides  had  taken  his  farewell,  finds  out 
that  a  man  has  entered  his  daughter's  apartment  by  means 
of  the  balcony.  Jealous  of  her  honor  and  his  own  he 
reproves  her  and  decides  to  kill  both  her  and  himself. 
At  that  moment  liiigo  who  has  overheard  the  angry  words 
enters  from  an  adjoining  room  and  begs  to  be  slain  as  the 
guilty  person.  The  old  man  reproaches  him  bitterly,  but 
refuses  to  comply  on  account  of  the  lad's  father.  "Go, 
both  of  you,  the  altar  awaits  you."  Dofia  Mencia  makes 
no  objection,  partly  because  the  young  man  has  saved 
her  from  disgrace,  partly  because  she  thinks  Benavides 
has  left  her  forever.  After  the  wedding  ceremony  while 
Dofia  Mencia  still  wears  her  wedding  gown,  Benavides 
reappears,  having  obtained  a  dispensation  from  the  Pope, 

MEXICO  359 

and  demands  Dona  Mencia's  hand  from  her  father.  A 
glance,  however,  reveals  to  him  the  true  state  of  affairs. 
It  is  now  Inigo's  turn  to  depart.  On  taking  leave  of  his 
wife  he  begs  her  to  cherish  her  honor.  Benavides  seeks  a 
rendezvous  with  the  young  woman  which  she,  after  a 
struggle  between  duty  and  love,  refuses.  Again  Benavides 
climbs  over  the  balcony  into  her  room.  Inigo  had  seen 
him  and  pursuing  him  engages  him  in  a  duel.  The  father 
also  enters  and  kills  liiigo  before  he  recognizes  his  antago- 
nist. As  liiigo  lies  dead  his  nobility  of  conduct  appears 
in  sharp  contrast  with  the  behavior  of  Benavides.  The 
latter  is  ignominiously  kicked  out  of  the  house. 

As  a  narrative  poet,  Peon  y  Contreras  preferred  the 
same  types  as  appear  in  his  dramas.  His  earliest  romances 
related  episodes  and  traditions  from  the  history  of  the 
Aztec  people  and  portrayed  their  heroes  and  customs. 
In  his  Romances  Dramdticos  (1880)  the  poems  are  original 
in  form,  with  few  details,  rapid  movement  and  clear-cut 
characters.  Their  themes  are  love  and  jealousy,  virtue 
and  its  struggle  against  vice,  tempests  of  the  soul  arising 
from  outraged  honor.  Dona  Brenday  for  example,  kills 
her  husband  through  mistaken  jealousy.  Sancho  Bermu- 
de%  de  Astorga  kills  his  wife  in  the  garden  of  their  house 
with  her  lover  and  then  goes  calmly  to  bed.  Gil  spends 
his  time  away  from  home.  His  wife  begs  him  not  go  to- 
night because  this  will  be  her  last  one  on  earth.  He  replies 
mockingly  that  he  has  heard  that  story  before.  On  his 
way  to  the  evening's  pleasure  he  sees  a  bridal  party  leav- 
ing the  church.  Reminded  thus  of  his  own  marriage  vows 
he  hurries  home  only  to  discover  his  wife's  dead  body. 
About  to  kill  himself  in  remorse,  his  attention  is  attracted 


by  the  wail  of  the  infant  in  the  cradle.  For  its  sake  he 
resolves  to  live.  Not  less  dramatic  are  the  poems  about 
Columbus  and  the  incidents  of  his  career  in  Trovas  Colom" 
hinasy  188 1.  Somewhat  longer,  but  similar  to  his  earlier 
ballads,  are  his  Pequenos  Dramas,  1887. 

The  "restoration"  of  the  theater  by  Peon  y  Contreras 
brought  about  public  interest  in  the  dramas  of  Alfredo 
Chavero  (1841-1906).  He  was  a  student  and  professor 
of  history  whose  researches  in  Mexican  antiquities  and 
history  are  embodied  in  several  volumes.  The  romantic 
character  of  the  pre-Spanish  period  he  endeavored  to  pre- 
sent in  dramatic  form.  Quetzalcoatl,  produced  March  24, 
1878,  enacts  the  legendary  story  of  that  monarch.  He 
is  a  king  from  the  East  who  has  substituted  the  cross 
for  the  worship  of  the  aboriginal  deities.  After  a  series  of 
misadventures  in  which  he  is  worsted  by  his  neighbors, 
he  appears  to  his  people  as  they  are  assembled  to  elect 
a  king  in  his  stead.  To  them  he  prophesies  the  coming 
of  the  Spaniards  beneath  the  banner  of  the  cross.  Another 
drama,  Xochitly  is  laid  at  the  time  of  Cortes'  invasion. 
Gonzalo  Aiaminos,  the  conquistador's  youthful  attendant, 
is  brought  a  wounded  prisoner  to  the  Aztec  temple  where 
the  maiden  Xochitl  is  servings  As  she  nurses  him  back 
to  health  ardent  love  springs  up  between  them.  When 
the  city  is  captured  by  Cortes,  the  lovers  are  separated. 
Xochitl  is  sent  as  a  present  to  Marina's  sister.  Now 
Marina,  being  the  mistress  of  Cortes,  sends  for  her  sister 
to  come  to  Mexico.  On  the  journey  thither,  the  sister 
dies,  but  her  attendants,  fearful  for  their  lives,  resolve 
to  substitute  Xochitl.  The  deception  succeeds.  Taken 
mto  Cortes'  household,  that  amorous  warrior  falls  in  love 

MEXICO  361 

with  her  and  decides  to  rid  himself  of  the  querulous  Marina 
by  sending  her  away.  He  orders  Gonzalo  to  accompany 
her.  But  the  youth  had  already  arranged  an  elopement 
with  Xochitl.  She,  however,  fails  to  keep  the  appointment 
on  account  of  a  riot  in  the  city.  In  this  disturbance 
Gonzalo  is  killed.  In  her  distress  Xochitl  relates  her 
story  to  Marina  and  reveals  even  to  Cortes  the  love  that 
had  existed  between  herself  and  Gonzalo.  Marina  hands 
the  unhappy  girl  a  dagger  with  which  she  stabs  herself. 
Dying  she  discloses  her  identity  as  the  last  survivor  of 
the  royal  house,  sister  of  Cuauhtemoc.  Cortes  in  his 
grief  over  Gonzalo  and  Xochitl  persists  in  his  determina- 
tion to  send  away  Marina. 

Verse  writing  in  the  early  eighties  is  represented  by 
Juan  de  Dios  Peza  (1852-1910).  Apparently  he  strove 
to  be  a  sort  of  Mexican  Longfellow.  Very  prolific,  all 
sorts  of  exercises  in  verse  on  all  manner  of  topics  appear 
in  his  volumes,  published  from  1874  to  the  Cantos  del 
Hogar,  1890.  Continuing  the  school  of  Rosas  Moreno 
his  most  successful  poems  belong  to  the  domestic  and  di- 
dactic type.  Perhaps  of  this  sort  nothing  in  Mexican 
verse  or  even  in  the  Spanish  language  equals  his  lines 
that  deal  with  children,  for  example,  the  description  in 
Fusiles  y  Munecas  of  the  poet's  children,  Juan  and  Margot, 
playing,  the  boy  with  his  gun  of  tin  and  the  girl  with  her 
doll.  But  Peza  wrote  so  much  that  was  prosaic  and 
trivial  that  his  reputation  as  a  poet  was  injured  thereby. 
Peza  went  to  Spain  as  secretary  of  the  Mexican  legation 
in  1878  and  there  published  several  articles  on  Mexican 
poets  that  aroused  an  interest  in  them  among  the  Span- 


Landscape  poetry  has  always  been  practiced  by  Mexi- 
cans.   The  classic  type  was  revived  by  Joaquin  Arcadio 

*  Pagaza  (b.  1839)  whose  greatest  service  to  literature 
despite  his  numerous  sonnets  was  a  Castilian  version  of 
Landivar's  great  Latin  poem  written  in  the  eighteenth 
century  descriptive  of  the  natural  beauties  of  Guatemala. 

Original  verse  of  a  similar  kind  was  written  by  Manuel 

•  Jose  Othon  (i 858-1906),  who  must  be  ranked  among 
Mexico's  best  poets  for  his  real  appreciation  of  nature's 
moods.  Like  Pagaza  he  chose  for  his  favorite  form  of 
expression  sonnets  which  he  arranged  in  sequences.  One 
of  these,  Noche  rustica  de  Walpurgis  {Sinfonia  Drdmatica), 
depicts  the  experiences  of  a  poet  invited  to  leave  the 
singing  of  arms  and  listen  to  the  "things  of  the  night.'* 
A  sonnet  is  devoted  to  each  experience.  He  sees  the 
moonlight  play  on  the  foliage  of  an  old  and  enormous 
tree  as  on  a  harp.  In  the  distance,  the  nightingale  sings, 
the  river  discourses  garrulous  and  the  stars  reveal  their 
respect  for  man.  The  cricket  and  the  night  birds  lead 
to  the  cemetery.  Witches  and  ghosts  appear.  Finally 
the  cock  crows,  the  matin  bell  rings,  and  a  gunshot  re- 
sounds, suggestive  either  of  an  execution  or  a  hunter's 
escape  from  a  wild  beast.  A  dog  alert  for  his  master's 
safety  barks.  The  morning  light  floods  the  earth  and 
men  pass  to  their  daily  avocations. 

There  is  in  this  sonnet  sequence  a  certain  gloominess  of 
imagination  characteristic  of  Mexican  verse.  The  point 
has  been  well  expressed  by  the  well-known  critic  from 
Santo  Domingo,  Pedro  Henriquez  Urena,  who  writes: — 
"Just  as  the  landscape  of  the  high  Mexican  plateau, 
accentuated  by  the  rarity  of  the  air,  rendered  barren  by 

MEXICO  363 

the  dryness  and  the  cold,  under  a  pale  blue  sky,  is  covered 
with  gray  and  yellowish  tones,  so  Mexican  poetry  seems 
to  take  its  tonality  from  them.  A  moderation  and  a 
melancholy  sentiment  suggestive  of  twilight  and  autumn 
agree  with  that  perpetual  autumn  of  the  heights  very 
different  from  the  ever  fertile  spring  of  the  tropics." 

The  most  autumnal  poet  of  all  was  Manuel  Gutierrez 
Najera  (1859-95),  who  is  the  incarnation  of  gentle  melan- 
choly. Admiration  of  him  is  so  great  among  the  younger 
Mexicans  that  they  say  Gutierrez  Najera  is  the  only 
real  poet  bom  in  Mexico  since  Sor  Juana.  Perhaps  they 
mean  that  he  voiced  in  a  preeminent  degree  the  mental 
qualities  derived  by  the  educated  Mexicans  from  their 
race  and  environment.  His  verses,  often  suggesting  more 
ideas  than  they  expressed  verbally,  possessed  a  rare  musical  ^ 
quality.  And  that  marriage  of  music  and  words  was  his 
special  contribution  as  a  precursor  of  the  modemista 
movement  of  Spanish-American  literature.^ 

In  his  earliest  poems,  written  before  1880,  Gutierrez 
Najera  followed  the  Catholic  tradition  of  Pesado  and 
Carpio.  For  this  reason  the  Catholic  element  of  Mexican 
society  suffering  severe  defeat  at  the  hands  of  the  triumph- 
ant liberalism  of  such  writers  as  Ignacio  Ramirez  and 
Altamirano  backed  by  the  Juarez  administration  hoped 
to  find  a  champion  in  Gutierrez  Najera.  In  this  expecta- 
tion they  were  disappointed  in  spite  of  the  intensely 
religious  feelings  of  his  typical  poems  Non  omnis  moriar 
and  Pax  animce.  His  attitude  toward  death  is  beauti- 
fully expressed  in  his  elegiac  poem  Para  entonces. 

In  this  poem  he  utters  the  wish  to  die  at  the  decline 
*  See  page  452. 


of  day  on  the  high  sea;  where  In  his  last  moments  he  will 
hear  only  the  prayer  of  the  waves;  to  die  when  the  sun 
casts  its  last  ruddy  glow  on  the  green  waters;  to  be  like 
the  sun,  something  luminous  which  is  extinguished;  to 
die  young,  when  life  still  attracts  "though  we  know  she 
deceives  us." 

In  the  technique  of  his  verse  Gutierrez  Najera  endeav- 
ored to  amalgamate  the  French  spirit  and  the  Spanish 
form  and  thus  produce  a  type  of  poetry  which  should  be 
the  flower  of  romanticism.  His  success  was  such  that 
in  the  words  of  his  panegyrist,  Justo  Sierra,  "the  singers 
of  all  Spanish  America  awoke  in  his  nest  and  flew  from 

In  the  grace  and  elegance  of  the  poet  spoke  the  in- 
dividuality of  the  man.  For  his  modest  reserve  he  was 
nicknamed  by  his  friends  "El  Duque  Job."  His  innate 
good  taste  never  permitted  him  to  carry  the  sensualistic 
tendency  of  his  verse  to  the  point  of  vulgarity,  as,  for 
example,  in  his  playful  La  Duquesa  Job,  in  which  he  sings 
the  physical  perfections  of  his  wife. 

The  same  grace  and  good  taste  marked  his  journalistic 
work  in  prose.  In  this  he  was  a  forerunner  of  the  modem- 
ista  prose  for  he  abandoned  the  heavy  Spanish  period 
for  the  lighter  French  style.  And  his  clear  logic  and 
vehemence  as  a  prose  writer  stand  in  sharp  contrast  with 
the  vague  sentimentality  of  the  poet. 

In  1894  Gutierrez  Najera  in  company  with  Carlos  Diaz 
Dufoo  founded  La  Revista  Azul.  Without  reference  to 
Ruben  Dario's  book  Azul,  from  which,  however,  extracts 
were  printed  from  time  to  time  in  this  weekly  review,  the 
editor,  "El  Duque  Job,"  explained  its  title  thus:  "Why 

MEXICO  365 

blue?  Because  in  the  blue,  there  is  sunlight;  because  in 
the  blue,  there  are  clouds;  and  because  in  the  blue,  hopes 
fly  in  flocks.  Blue  is  not  merely  a  color,  it  is  a  mystery/' 
Later  to  defend  the  purely  artistic  purpose  of  the  maga- 
zines from  the  critics  who  assailed  his  adherence  to  French 
models,  he  wrote,  "Whoever  would  cultivate  art  must 
get  his  supplies  from  France  where  art  lives  a  more  in- 
tense life  than  elsewhere."  The  review  concerned  itself 
only  with  works  of  literary  art  in  prose  and  verse.  News 
items  were  rigidly  excluded.  Even  the  death  of  Gutierrez 
Najera  himself  received  scant  attention. 

Frequent  contributors  were  Luis  G.  Urbina  (b.  1867), 
Jose  Juan  Tablada  (b.  1871)  and  Rafael  de  Zayas  Enri- 
quez;  but  the  names  of  nearly  every  writer  interested  in 
the  modemista  movement  appear  in  its  pages,  even  that 
of  the  Andalusian  poet  Salvador  Rueda,  through  whom 
the  spirit  of  the  new  poetry  passed  into  Spain. 

Another  Mexican  poet  whose  manner  was  widely 
imitated  outside  of  his  own  country  was  Salvador  Diaz 
Miron  (b.  1855).  His  originality  lay  in  the  fiery  elo- 
quence of  his  verses  and  their  spirit  of  revolt.  He  came 
from  the  hot  region  of  Vera  Cruz,  which  may  explain  in 
part  his  torrid  pugnacity  and  sensuality.  Moreover,  he 
cultivated  the  quatrain  as  a  form  of  verse  expression, 
till  he  put  on  it  a  personal  stamp.  Later  he  developed 
certain  theories  of  prosody  in  which  others  have  not  fol- 
lowed him,  so  that  his  more  recent  poems  exhibit  a  second 
mannerism  peculiar  to  Diaz  Miron.  ^ 

The  landscape  school  of  poetry  so  ably  represented 
by  Othon  has  had  many  followers  in  Mexico,  for  example, 
^Seepage  452. 


Luis  G.  Urbina  and  Rafael  L6pez.  Urbina's  excellent 
verse  is  exhibited  in  his  Poema  del  Lago  and  El  Poema  del 
Mariel.  The  latter  was  inspired  by  the  marine  scenery 
and  fisher  folk  of  Cuba  where  the  poet  sought  refuge 
during  the  recent  upheaval  in  Mexico.  Both  poems  are 
sonnet  sequences,  pictures  of  landscapes  and  life  with  the 
thoughts  suggested  by  them  in  the  mind  of  the  poet. 

To  the  modernista  movement  Mexico  not  only  contrib- 
uted Gutierrez  Najera,  Diaz  Mir6n,  Urbina  but  also 
^Enrique  Gonzalez  Martinez  (b.  1871),  Alfonso  Reyes,  and 
especially  Amado  Nervo  (b.  1870).^  Writers  of  verse  have 
at  all  times  been  so  numerous  in  Mexico  that  space  forbids 
mention  of  all. 

The  naturalistic  doctrine  of  novel  writing  found  in 
Mexico  ready  imitators  upon  a  promising  field.  Among 
the  first  of  these  was  Jose  L6pez  Portillo  y  Rojas  (b. 
1850),  for  a  short  time  minister  for  foreign  affairs  under 
General  Huerta,  1914.  His  father  being  a  wealthy  and 
eminent  lawyer,  the  son  enjoyed  the  advantages  of  a 
good  education  and  wide  travel  in  Europe  and  the  Orient 
of  which  he  has  left  a  record  in  Impresiones  de'  Viaje. 
Knowledge  of  his  own  country  he  has  set  forth  in  his 
novels.  In  La  Parcela  he  offered  a  study  of  the  morbid 
affection  for  land  displayed  by  the  native  proprietors. 
Don  Pedro  Ruiz,  a  rich  Indian,  has  an  only  son,  Gonzalo, 
twenty-three  years  of  age  who  is  engaged  to  marry 
Ramona,  the  only  daughter  of  Don  Miguel  Diaz.  The 
latter  is  envious  of  Don  Pedro's  wealth,  so  at  the  sugges- 
tion of  a  shyster  lawyer  he  seizes  a  lot  of  land  adjoining 
his  own  property.  When  the  matter  is  carried  into  court, 
*  See  page  469. 

MEXICO  367 

the  boundary  line  is  determined  by  means  of  bribing  the 
judge  in  Don  Miguel's  favor.  In  a  higher  court,  however, 
the  same  means  resecures  the  property  for  Don  Pedro. 
Don  Miguel  then  attempts  to  injure  his  wealthy  neighbor 
by  various  mean  and  underhand  methods  such  as  assas- 
sinating his  tenants  and  breaking  a  dam  that  impounds 
water  for  driving  the  latter's  mills.  During  all  these 
quarrels  of  the  parents,  the  lovers  are  naturally  having 
a  hard  time,  but  at  last  a  sudden  reconciliation  permits 
their  marriage  and  an  end  of  the  story. 

The  devious  ways  by  which  men  rise  in  Mexican  politics, 
the  eagerness  for  disorder  and  revolution  prevailing 
among  the  lower  classes  in  Mexico,  the  peculiarities  of 
Mexican  journalism  are  all  set  forth  in  a  four-volume  novel 
by  Emilio  Rabasa  (b.  1856).  Each  volume  is  really 
complete  in  itself  but  the  four  relate  the  fortunes  of  Juan 
Quiiiones,  in  love  with  the  niece  of  Don  Mateo,  all  na- 
tives of  an  obscure  village.  Don  Mateo,  however,  is 
carried  upward  on  fortune's  wheel  while  Juan  comes 
trailing  after.  In  spite  of  the  uncle's  increasing  ambi- 
tions for  his  niece,  Juan  finally  wins  her.  The  author, 
Emilio  Rabasa,  represented  Mexico  at  the  ABC  con- 
ference at  Niagara  in  19 14. 

A  popular  writer  who  followed  the  changes  in  taste 
was  Rafael  Delgado  (1853-1914).  His  first  literary  efforts 
were  plays  written  and  produced  during  the  great  dramatic 
revival  of  the  late  seventies.  La  Caja  de  Dulces  is  a  drama 
in  three  acts,  which  made  his  friends  so  enthusiastic 
that  they  presented  him  with  a  crown  of  silver  and  a  gold 
pen.  The  following  year,  1879,  he  produced  a  translation 
of  Feuillet's  line  Case  de  Conscience.    Living  in  his  native 


province  of  Vera  Cruz,  he  became  a  very  active  member 
of  a  literary  society,  la  Sociedad  Sanchez  Oropesa,  which 
met  monthly  under  the  leadership  of  Silvestre  Moreno 
Cora,  then  rector  of  the  college  of  Orizaba.  Delgado's 
stories  and  sketches  were  printed  in  the  newspapers  of 
Vera  Cruz  and  have  been  collected  in  book  form.  They 
are  written  in  a  manner  that  suggests  Daudet's  but  deal 
realistically  with  the  types  of  humanity  in  his  province,  as 
"el  Caballerango"  and  "la  Gata,"  by  which  local  terms 
the  stable  boy  and  the  maid  servant  are  known.  The 
stories  contain  realistic  views  of  the  hard  and  degraded 
existence  led  by  the  lower  classes.  Historical  traditions 
also  form  part  of  his  sketches  written  at  this  time. 

In  novel  writing  Delgado  began  by  an  imitation  of 
Jorge  Isaacs'  romantic  idyll  Maria.  Delgado's  love  idyll 
Angelina  appears  to  be  a  chapter  from  the  author's  per- 
sonal experience.  Its  hero,  Rodolfo,  is  dependent  on  two 
aged  aunts  who  have  sent  him  away  to  school.  When  he 
returns  to  their  house  to  undertake  his  duty  of  supporting 
ihem,  he  finds  that  they  have  taken  under  their  protection 
at  the  solicitation  of  the  parish  priest  an  orphan  girl, 
Angelina.  The  young  people  fall  in  love  with  each  other. 
After  some  months  of  innocent  and  idyllic  intercourse 
they  are  separated  because  the  priest  recalls  Angelina 
to  his  own  house  while  Rodolfo  goes  to  service  on  the 
estate  of  a  rich  proprietor  by  the  name  of  Fernandez. 
This  man  has  a  beautiful  daughter,  Gabriela,  possessed 
of  extraordinary  talent  in  piano  playing.  Rodolfo  falls 
in  love  with  her,  though  at  the  same  time  he  retains  his 
aflFection  for  Angelina.  Her  correspondence  with  him  is 
a  careful  study  of  feminine  passion.     At  last,  she  learns 

MEXICO  369 

Rodolfo's  attentions  to  Gabriela.  Then  Angelina  resolves 
to  become  a  sister  of  charity  and  writes  the  recreant  lover 
a  very  beautiful  letter  of  renunciation.  Gabriela,  how- 
ever, has  paid  httle  or  no  attention  to  Rodolfo  and  finally 
banishes  him  absolutely  from  her  presence.  Rodolfo  seeks 
solace  in  work. 

Delgado's  later  novels  followed  more  closely  the  ideas 
of  the  naturalistic  school.  Los  Parientes  Ricos  is  a  satire 
on  the  customs  of  the  middle  class,  while  Calandria  is 
a  picture  of  lower-class  manners.  In  the  latter  Carmen 
is  the  natural  daughter  of  a  man  of  the  world,  Eduardo 
Ortiz  de  Guerra  who  attempts  to  repair  his  fault  by  money. 
She  is  thus  brought  up  to  a  love  of  luxury  beyond  her 
station  in  life  and  consequently  falls  an  easy  victim  to  the 
seductions  of  the  rich  Alberto  Rojas  though  she  is  being 
honorably  courted  by  an  honest  young  carpenter  Gabriel. 
Their  last  interview  in  the  garden  is  very  touchingly  de- 
scribed and  is  excelled  in  tragic  pathos  only  by  the  scene 
in  which  Gabriel  is  at  work  building  her  coffin  after  her 
amour  with  Alberto  has  brought  Carmen  to  her  death. 
This  novel  is  praised  by  the  professor  Moreno  Cora  for 
its  "admirable  exactness"  in  the  portrayal  of  contemporary 
manners,  and  he  asserts  that  he  has  known  many  men  like 
the  sinning  and  grief-stricken  father,  Eduardo  Ortiz. 

The  field  of  politics  and  social  strife  is  claimed  by  an 
interesting  novel,  Pacotillas,  written  by  Porfirio  Parra 
(b.  1855),  who  is  also  the  author  of  a  long  ode  on  mathe- 
matics somewhat  in  the  style  of  Acufia,  his  friend  and  fel- 
low student  of  medicine.  The  novel  ostensibly  follows 
the  fortunes  of  four  young  men  friends.  One  of  them,  el 
Chango,  rises  by  toadyism  in  politics  and  marries  great 


wealth.  Pacotillas  is  a  sort  of  modern  picaro  who  drinks 
hard  and  lives  with  Amalia  without  marrying  her,  some- 
times in  comfortable  circumstances  and  sometimes  in 
great  poverty.  By  antagonizing  the  government  in 
articles  which  he  published  in  the  papers, 'he  is  thrown 
into  prison  where  he  finally  dies.  Like  his  prototype, 
el  Periquillo  Sarniento,  he  takes  the  reader  through  various 
classes  of  Mexican  society. 

In  some  respects  the  best  writer  and  the  closest  adher- 
ent to  the  French  naturalistic  was  Federico  Gamboa  (b. 
1864).  From  early  youth  Gamboa  lived  abroad  and  was 
connected  with  the  Mexican  diplomatic  service  in  many 
capitals  including  Washington.  His  literary  work  began 
by  adapting  French  vaudevilles  and  he  has  written  several 
original  plays  of  not  much  consequence.  As  a  novelist, 
however,  he  has  been  fairly  prolific  and  successful.  A 
volume  of  sketches,  Esbozos  contempordneos,  brought  him 
a  nomination  as  corresponding  member  to  the  Royal 
Spanish  Academy.  The  first  novel  to  bring  him  into 
international  notice  was  published  during  his  sojourn  in 
Buenos  Aires  in  1892,  Apariencias,  which  may  be  briefly 
described  as  a  Mexican  variation  of  the  universal  theme  of 

The  scene  of  this  novel  is  laid  in  a  small  village  during 
the  French  occupation  under  Maximilian.  A  realistic 
picture  of  the  farcical  court  proceedings  in  which  judges 
and  defenders  speak  different  languages  without  inter- 
preters opens  the  story.  A  youth,  Pedro,  is  successfully 
defended  upon  the  charge  of  being  a  spy  though  his  father 
is  condemned  and  executed.  The  reader's  sympathy  is 
thus  thoroughly  aroused  and  made  ready  to  share  the 

MEXICO  371 

intense  patriotism  of  the  pages  descriptive  of  the  retreat 
of  the  French  army  from  a  town  occupied  only  by  women, 
children  and  old  men.  Pedro's  defender,  the  lawyer 
Don  Luis,  a  man  some  fifty  years  of  age,  is  so  greatly 
touched  by  the  lad's  orphan  helplessness  that  he  takes 
him  to  his  home  in  the  city  of  Mexico  and  adopts  him. 
The  lawyer's  sister,  Magdalena,  falls  in  love  with  the  boy. 
In  the  meantime  the  susceptible  lawyer  also  falls  in  love 
with  the  young  daughter  of  a  client  and  marries  her. 
The  wife  Elena  and  Pedro  thus  brought  into  intimacy 
succumb  to  a  guilty  attraction  to  each  other.  The  lad 
is  thus  false  to  his  benefactor  and  adoptive  father  and  to 
his  first  love,  Magdalena.  The  amour  progresses  rather 
openly  until  the  couple  are  surprised  by  the  outraged 
husband,  who  instead  of  following  the  time-honored  cus- 
tom of  killing  the  guilty  ones  condemns  them  to  live. 
The  course  of  this  affair  is  related  with  psychological 
minuteness  in  the  manner  of  Bourget  just  as  the  military 
scenes  imitate  the  intensity  of  Zola.  Realistic  also  are 
certain  pictures  of  Mexican  life  such  as  the  wedding  break- 
fast in  a  public  cafe  and  the  description  of  Mexico  City 
at  night  when  the  public  places  are  full  of  joyous  revellers. 
The  title  of  "dissector  of  souls"  conferred  on  Gamboa 
by  his  critics  was  confirmed  by  Suprema  Ley,  published 
in  1896.  The  soul  in  this  case  belongs  to  Julio  Ortegal, 
a  poor  law  clerk,  whose  wife.  Carmen,  is  the  hard  working 
mother  of  six  children.  Julio,  to  his  destruction,  comes  into 
contact  with  Clothilde,  a  siren,  who  has  been  thrown  into 
jail  on  suspicion  of  murdering  her  lover  who  had  in  reality 
committed  suicide.  Julio  is  infatuated  to  the  extent  that 
when  Clothilde  is  acquitted  he  abandons  his  wife  and 


children  to  follow  her.  Though  a  consumptive  he  works 
overtime  to  pay  for  her  extravagances.  Finally,  however, 
she  casts  him  off.  Julio  broken  in  spirit  and  body  returns 
to  his  family  in  time  to  die. 

Gamboa's  ability  to  write  was  brought  sharply  to  the 
attention  of  the  North  American  public  when  he  was 
secretary  for  foreign  affairs  for  provisional  President 
Huerta.  The  unassailable  logic  of  his  masterly  replies 
to  the  first  notes  of  our  Department  of  State  demanding 
Huerta's  resignation  elicited  widespread  admiration. 



To  say  that  Cuban  literature  is  wholly  a  literature  of 
revolution  would  be  an  exaggeration.  But  in  verses 
sufficiently  innocent  in  appearance  to  escape  the  censor's 
pencil  often  lurked  a  thought  that  was  evident  to  the 
patriot.  If  the  word  "libertad"  occurring  in  a  drama  was 
deleted  by  the  censor  who  substituted  "lealtad,"  nobody 
was  deceived;  for  a  patriot  liberty  presupposes  loyalty. 
Again  the  lover's  melancholy  on  account  of  his  sweet- 
heart's illness  might  be  a  thin  disguise  for  the  poet's 
lament  over  Cuba  prostrate  beneath  the  oppressor's  heel. 

Verse  undoubtedly  was  written  with  a  purely  artistic 
intent.  In  fact  the  bulk  of  verse  produced  in  Cuba  was 
so  great  that  its  very  quantity  has  been  explained  as  due 
to  the  political  disability  of  the  people. 

Prose  on  the  other  hand  was  generally  a  weapon  in  the 
fight  for  separation  from  Spain.  Though  some  of  it  was 
journalistic  and  some  oratorical,  the  censor's  eye  was  too 
keen  to  allow  every  dry-as-dust  title  prefixed  to  a  pas- 
sionate protest  against  some  act  of  the  authorities  to  pass 
unchallenged.  Consequently  there  sprang  up  and  flour- 
ished a  form  of  literature,  essentially  Cuban  in  its  fullest 
development,  the  political  tract.  It  could  be  circulated 
secretly  and  even  printed  in  a  foreign  country  and  smug- 
gled into  Cuba. 



The  first  revolutionary,  in  whose  lines  Cubans  sought 
and  always  found  inspiration  was  also  the  greatest  of 
Cuban  poets,  Jose  Maria  Heredia.  As  his  work  and  early 
banishment  occurred  during  the  period  of  revolution  in 
the  rest  of  Spanish  America,  he  has  been  considered  else- 
where. While  his  fame  was  widespread  beyond  the  seas, 
the  same  upheaval  which  caused  his  expulsion  from  Cuba 
brought  about  that  also  of  a  man,  Felix  Varela  y  Morales 
(1788-1853),  whose  reputation  and  influence  remained 
pecuHarly  and  locally  Cuban.  His  importance  to  the 
cause  of  separatism  lay,  not  in  the  emotional  appeal  of 
poetry  but  in  the  persuasive  power  of  abstract  reasoning. 

To  Felix  Varela  the  Cubans  pay  the  tribute  of  saying 
that  he  taught  them  to  think.  He  is  the  first  of  a  notable 
line  of  teachers  who  shaped  Cuban  mentality.  An  in- 
tellectually brilliant  young  priest,  professor  of  Latin, 
philosophy  and  science  at  the  University  of  Havana, 
Varela  began  his  innovations  by  giving  instruction  in  the 
vernacular.  In  1820  the  famous  society,  Los  Amigos  del 
Pais,  founded  in  Havana  in  1793  and  still  in  active  exist- 
ence, resolved  to  establish  a  professorship  of  public  law 
and  this  chair  was  won  in  public  competition  by  Varela. 
Soon  thereafter  he  was  elected  a  deputy  to  the  Cortes  of 
Cadiz  dispersed  by  Fernando  VH  in  1823  for  its  liberal 
tendencies.  Though  Varela  was  one  of  the  proscribed 
deputies  marked  for  arrest,  he  succeeded  in  reaching 
Gibraltar  and  from  there  New  York.  He  took  up  his 
residence  in  Philadelphia  and  began  to  issue  a  periodical. 
El  Habanero,  eagerly  read  in  Cuba.  Though  this  journal 
was  short-lived,  in  others  he  continued  to  exert  an  influence 
on  the  affairs  of  the  island  till  the  day  of  his  death.    He 

CUBA  375 

died  and  was  buried  in  St.  Augustine,  Florida,  where  his 
tomb  became  a  shrine  of  pilgrimage  for  patriotic  Cubans. 
After  their  independence  was  won,  in  gratitude  for  his 
work  they  removed  his  bones  to  Cuba. 

Varela  in  his  philosophical  teaching  urged  less  attention 
to  abstractions  and  more  to  the  study  of  things.  He 
proclaimed  the  right  of  human  reason  to  investigate  for 
itself.  He  preached  against  fanaticism  and  for  tolerance 
in  religious  thought,  especially  against  that  abuse  of 
religion  which  made  it  an  aid  to  political  despotism. 

When  only  Cuba  of  all  the  vast  extent  of  Spanish 
possessions  in  America  was  left  to  Spain,  the  island  began 
to  enjoy  great  prosperity  on  account  of  the  relaxation 
in  the  rigor  of  the  laws  concerning  trade.  Moreover,  an 
immigration  of  loyalists  from  the  rest  of  Spanish  America 
swelled  the  number  of  the  population.  Assisted  by  this 
naturally  loyalist  disposition  of  the  people  the  wiser  and 
freer  colonial  policy  of  the  Spanish  government  made  all 
but  a  few  irreconcilables  incline  favorably  toward  Spain. 
Dwellers  in  Cuba  felt  themselves  Spaniards  rather  than 
Cubans.  Even  the  outbursts  of  Heredia  against  the  hang- 
ing of  the  Spanish  rebel  leader  Rafael  del  Riego  were 
delivered  more  as  the  protests  of  a  Spaniard  than  of  a 
Cuban  in  spite  of  their  possible  local  application.  More- 
over, the  stimulus  to  literary  endeavor  came  from  Spanish 

In  1830  when  the  childless  Fernando  VH  married  Maria 
Cristina,  the  Spanish  poet  Quintana  addressed  the  royal 
pair  an  ode  which  was  nothing  more  or  less  than  a  hymn 
to  liberty.  To  Cubans  his  words  seemed  an  augury  of  a 
new  epoch.     Cuban  poets  imitated  even  the  form  of  the 



verses.  The  society,  Amigos  del  Pais,  was  moved  to 
establish  a  literary  section,  of  which  Domingo  del  Monte, 
who  was  later  to  be  a  sort  of  Cuban  Maecenas,  was  made 
secretary.  When  the  little  heiress  known  to  history  as 
Isabel  II  was  bom,  the  society  held  a  poetic  contest  which, 
being  the  first  of  the  kind  in  Cuba,  aroused  great  enthu- 
siasm among  the  youth. 

The  first  prize  was  awarded  to  Jose  Antonio  Echeverria 
(1815-84),  then  a  lad  of  sixteen.  Shortly  thereafter  he 
became  an  editor  of  a  literary  journal.  El  Planted  in  which 
appeared  several  of  the  important  literary  productions  of 
this  period.  Though  Echeverria  wrote  other  poems  and 
some  prose  tales,  notably  Antonelli,  he  became  more 
prominent  in  later  life  for  his  active  participation  in 
separatist  politics. 

Maria  Cristina  as  queen  regent  awakened  great  expec- 
tations. In  1834  she  appointed  as  her  prime  minister  the 
poet  Francisco  Martinez  de  la  Rosa  (i 789-1 852),  who  had 
just  produced  his  masterpiece,  the  romantic  drama.  La 
Conjuracion  de  Venecia.  Again  in  Cuba  there  was  re- 
joicing among  the  poets  for  they  thought  the  queen  regent 
and  her  minister  would  favor  a  more  liberal  policy  in  the 
government  of  Cuba.  The  best  of  the  Cuban  verses  were 
gathered  in  a  volume  with  the  title  of  Aureola  Poetica  and 
sent  to  Martinez  de  la  Rosa.  The  sponsor  for  this  volume 
was  Ignacio  Valdes  Machuca  (i8cx>-5i)  more  praise- 
worthy as  a  patron  of  letters  than  as  a  poet.  Still  his 
little  volume  of  youthful  effusions,  Ocios  poeticos,  pub- 
lished in  1 819,  makes  a  date  in  Cuban  literature.  In  mate- 
rial ways  also  Valdes  Machuca  assisted  striving  poets. 
The  most  notable  instance  was  that  of  the  negro  poet. 

CUBA  377 

Jose  Francisco  Manzano,  a  slave.  He  succeeded  in  raising 
a  subscription  of  five  hundred  dollars  with  which  he 
bought  the  man's  freedom.  This  occurrence  seemed  so 
sensational  to  J.  R.  Madden,  an  English  judge  in  the 
mixed  court  in  Havana,  that  he  published  an  English 
translation  of  several  of  Manzano's  poems. 

In  the  liberal  constitution  granted  to  Spain  by  Maria 
Cristina  in  1834,  Cuba  expected  to  have  her  part.  But 
the  degree  of  freedom  allowed  her  was  by  vote  of  the 
Cortes  denied  and  the  Cuban  deputies  were  excluded. 
Moreover,  the  despotic  Miguel  Tacon  was  appointed 
Governor  of  Cuba  and  given  absolute  powers  of  repression. 
To  the  conduct  of  his  office  from  1834  to  1839  may  be 
ascribed  a  rapid  growth  of  separatist  sentiment  in  Cuba. 

Coincident  with  Tacon's  administration  was  the  first 
flourishing  period  of  Cuban  literature  due  to  a  literary 
circle  which  formed  about  the  person  of  Domingo  del 
Monte  (1804-54).  H^  was  wealthy  and  allied  to  aristo- 
cratic families  in  Spain.  Del  Monte's  letters  to  his  brother- 
in-law,  Jose  Luis  Alfonso,  form  an  excellent  picture  and 
chronicle  of  events  in  Havana  during  the  governorship 
of  Tacon.  Before  the  latter's  arrival  Del  Monte*s  patron- 
age of  Cuban  letters  was  purely  literary,  but  when  the 
tyrannous  acts  of  the  governor  excited  his  disgust,  it 
assumed  a  political  aspect. 

Poetry  was  Del  Monte's  passion  though  he  himself 
wrote  but  indifferent  verses.  It  was  Del  Monte  who 
called  the  attention  of  the  great  Spanish  critic  Alberto 
Lista  to  Heredia's  poems  by  sending  him  a  copy  of  them 
with  a  request  for  an  opinion.  It  was  to  Del  Monte  that 
Heredia  dedicated  "in  testimony  of  unalterable  affection" 


the  second  part  of  his  poems  as  arranged  in  the  edition 
of  Toluca.  While  in  the  United  States  Del  Monte  had 
printed  at  Philadelphia,  1828,  a  collection  of  thfe  poems 
of  the  Spanish  heroic  poet  Gallego.  And  on  taking  up  his 
residence  in  Havana,  Del  Monte's  house  became  a  center 
for  poetic  endeavor. 

One  of  the  first  poets  to  receive  his  encouragement  was 
Ramon  Velez  y  Herrera  (1808-86),  who  published  a  little 
volume  of  poems  in  1833  which  attracted  attention  be- 
cause it  was  the  first  book  of  poetry  printed  in  Cuba  since 
the  Ocios  PoHicos  of  Valdes  Machuca,  in  18 19.  Velez  y 
Herrera  worked  according  to  an  idea  which  Del  Monte 
suggested  in  the  phrase  "cubanizar  la  poesia."  This 
meant  the  development  of  the  rude  art  of  the  "guajiros," 
the  white  country  people  of  Cuba,  who,  descended  from 
the  peasants  of  Andalusia  and  Estremadura,  preserved 
the  custom  at  social  gatherings  of  improvising  verses  on 
local  events.  Accordingly  Velez  depicted  the  life  of  the 
guajiros,  their  horse  races,  cock  fights,  boating  contests, 
dances,  and  love  affairs.  In  1840  he  combined  a  handful 
of  similar  poems  into  a  connected  narrative,  Elvira  de 
Oquendo  0  los  Amores  de  una  guajira.  This  luckless  maiden 
in  love  with  Juan  receives  his  attentions  against  the 
wishes  of  her  parents.  Juan  persuades  Elvira  to  elope. 
Pursued  by  her  father's  retainers,  Juan  is  forced  into  a 
fight  in  which  he  kills  several  of  them,  but  he  is  taken 
prisoner,  tried  and  executed  for  murder.  Elvira  wander- 
ing about  alone  is  finally  found,  but  when  taken  into  her 
father's  presence  she  falls  dead.  The  reader,  however, 
does  not  feel  very  poignant  grief  at  the  sorrows  of  the 
unfortunate  pair,  because  he  is  being  constantly  enter- 

CUBA  379 

tained  by  digressions  concerning  the  customs  of  the  coun- 
try. In  1856  Velez  y  Herrera  published  a  new  collection 
of  similar  poems  in  his  Romances  Cubanos,  but  the  public 
was  tired  of  poetic  cock  fights. 

Utilization  of  popular  poetry  was  also  practiced  dur- 
ing the  thirties,  quite  independently  of  Del  Monte's  in- 
fluence, by  Francisco  Poveda  y  Armenteros,  an  almost 
illiterate  peon  living  in  the  eastern  end  of  the  island.  In 
spite  of  his  gift  for  song,  his  verses  being  scattered  among 
various  newspapers  which  had  published  them  over  the 
pen  name  of  "  El  Trovador  Cubano,"  he  would  probably 
have  remained  in  oblivion,  had  not  some  enthusiastic 
young  lovers  of  poetry  discovered  him  when  an  old  man, 
and  to  relieve  his  poverty  brought  about  the  production, 
in  1879,  of  a  sort  of  drama  of  his,  El  Peon  de  Bayamo. 

The  most  popular  poet  developed  in  Del  Monte's  circle 
was  Jose  Jacinto  Milanes  (1814-63).  Though  he  began 
to  publish  verses  at  the  age  of  twenty-three,  his  period  of 
literary  production  was  terminated  in  seven  years  in 
1843  by  his  becoming  insane.  He  put  Del  Monte's  liter- 
ary theories  into  practice  by  giving  his  poems  a  setting 
amid  the  tropical  beauty  of  the  Cuban  landscape.  Thus 
he  taught  later  poets  the  value  of  local  color.  At  the 
same  time  he  believed  in  making  poetry  the  handmaid 
of  morality.  In  this  respect,  especially  in  his  choice  of 
topics,  he  seems  to  modern  critics  to  have  exceeded  the 
limits  of  good  taste.  A  third  characteristic  of  his  lines 
was  his  sentimental  melancholy.  His  most  famous  poems 
illustrate  these  peculiarities. 

La  Madrugada  offers  to  the  poet  the  beauty  of  the 
dawn,  but  since  he  has  seen  a  certain  beautiful  woman. 


who,  however,  scorns  his  advances,  he  has  no  eyes  for 
nature  because  the  sight  of  two  doves,  two  stars,  two 
waves,  or  two  clouds  reminds  him  of  his  "continual  soli- 
tude." In  La  Fuga  de  la  TSrtola,  the  poet  laments  the 
flight  of  his  turtle  dove  and  though  he  approves  her  pas- 
sionate longing  for  liberty,  he  feels  he  will  die  unless  she 
returns.  El  Beso  presents  the  poet  sitting  beside  a  beau- 
tiful young  girl  "at  night  in  a  cool  garden";  the  situation 
inspires  him  with  a  desire  to  kiss  her;  he  goes  so  far  as  to 
seize  her  hand  but  is  deterred  from  his  intention  by  the 
thought  that,  although  his  own  kiss  is  pure,  another 
man's  kiss  might  prove  her  ruination.  "I  went  away  in 
peace,  a  tear  of  sweetness  bathed  my  face."  El  Exposito, 
originally  printed  in  the  little  periodical.  El  Plantel,  made 
a  sensation.  A  critic  objected  to  the  poem  on  the  ground 
that  not  all  illegitimate  children  grew  up  depraved  and 
vicious.  Milanes  stoutly  defended  both  the  logic  and  the 
morality  of  his  teaching  that  an  abandoned  and  illegiti- 
mate child  could  scarcely  avoid  being  a  criminal.  In  El 
Miron  Cubano  the  author  appears  as  a  sort  of  doctor  of 
morality  who  offers  his  advice  to  those  who  bring  their 
troubles  to  him.  This  poem  in  dialogue  form  is  a  series 
of  observations  and  criticisms  of  Milanes'  fellow  towns- 
men in  the  city  of  Matanzas. 

These  moral,  or  philosophical,  poems  as  their  author 
termed  them  abound  in  touches  descriptive  of  Cuban 
life  undoubtedly  true  of  the  epoch  in  which  they  were 
written.  It  was  even  possible  for  contemporary  readers 
to  name  the  individuals  who  served  as  models.  The  local 
color  and  the  real  musical  quality  of  the  Hnes  has  made 
Milanes'    poems   popular   among   his   countrymen.     In 

CUBA  381 

the   words  of  Zenea: — "They  glide  along  like  the  still 

Milanes  also  wrote  a  drama,  El  Conde  Alarcos,  which 
aroused  enthusiasm  among  his  friends.  This  is  a  roman- 
tic drama  in  the  manner  of  the  Spaniard  Garcia  Gutierrez. 
The  Conde  Alarcos,  a  prisoner  of  war  of  the  King  of 
France,  is  allowed,  through  the  influence  of  the  Princess 
Blanche  in  love  with  the  count,  to  revisit  his  country  after 
pledging  his  word  of  honor  that  he  will  return.  During 
his  visit  he  is  married  to  a  Spanish  lady.  When,  however, 
the  Princess  Blanche  learns  this  fact,  she  is  unwilling  to 
give  up  the  count,  though  he  has  proved  so  faithless  to  the 
favors  she  had  bestowed  on  him  in  his  captivity.  She 
persuades  her  father,  the  king,  to  procure  the  assassina- 
tion of  the  innocent  wife  in  order  that  she  may  herself 
marry  the  count. 

Under  Del  Monte's  influence,  Milanes  wrote  a  few 
verses  with  political  significance,  but  Del  Monte's  own 
political  writings  were  in  prose.  He  is  perhaps  the  initia- 
tor of  the  political  tract,  that  form  of  literature  so  flourish- 
ing in  the  peculiar  circumstances  of  Cuban  life.  His  most 
important  effort  was  La  Isla  de  Cuba  tal  cual  estd.  Written 
in  1836  to  refute  a  pamphlet  by  a  Spaniard,  F.  Guerra 
Bethencourt,  who  praised  the  condition  of  the  island, 
Del  Monte's  tract  was  an  honest  protest  against  the  harsh 
methods  of  the  colonial  governor,  Miguel  Tacon. 

It  was  followed  the  next  year  by  the  famous  Paralelo 
entre  la  isla  de  Cuba  y  algunas  colonias  inglesas,  by  Jose 
Antonio  Saco  (i 797-1 879).  The  main  argument  of  this 
tract  was  that  a  union  with  Great  Britain  or  the  United 
States  would  be  an  advantage  to  Cuba.     The  governor 



Tacon  reported  these  pamphlets  to  the  government  of 
Spain  as  the  work  of  "pernicious  men." 

Jose  Antonio  Saco,  suffering  banishment  by  order  of 
Tacon,  became  in  a  literary  way  one  of  the  foremost 
champions  of  the  cause  of  Cuban  independence.  In  early 
life  he  was  a  brilliant  scholar,  one  of  the  chief  opponents 
of  Felix  Varela  in  the  contest  for  the  professorship  of 
public  law,  and  Varela's  successor  ,in  that  chair  when  the 
latter  went  to  Spain  as  Cuban  member  of  the  Cortes.  In 
the  United  States  he  was  Varela's  partner  in  literary 
enterprises.  In  1832,  Saco  being  in  Havana,  they  edited 
the  celebrated  Revista  himestre  Cub  ana.  Regarding  the 
literary  merit  of  this  review,  George  Ticknor,  the  his- 
torian of  Spanish  letters,  wrote  to  Del  Monte  under 
date  of  April  24th,  1834: — "I  have  been  struck  ever  since 
I  first  began  to  read  the  Revista  bimestre  Cubana  with  the 
amount  of  literary  talent  and  accomplishment  in  your 
island.  Nothing  to  be  compared  with  it,  has,  so  far  as 
I  am  informed,  ever  been  exhibited  in  any  of  the  Spanish 
colonies  and  even  in  some  respects,  nothing  like  it  is  to 
be  seen  in  Spain.  A  review  of  such  spirit,  variety  and 
power  has  never  been  even  attempted  at  Madrid." 

The  government  at  Madrid  had  authorized  the  estab- 
lishment in  Havana  of  an  Academia  de  Literatura;  but 
to  General  Tacon  such  a  society  seemed  a  gathering  of 
malcontents  and  he  forbade  it.  At  the  same  time  he 
ordered  Saco  to  leave  the  island.  The  immediate  cause 
for  his  expulsion  was  his  attack  on  African  slavery,  the 
source  of  many  evils  in  Cuba.  From  his  first  writings 
against  the  slave  trade  grew  a  book,  Historia  de  la  Esclavi- 
tudj  to  which  he  devoted  his  leisure  for  thirty  years  be- 

CUBA  383 

fore  its  complete  publication.  Saco  returned  to  Cuba 
only  in  1861,  and  then  merely  for  a  short  visit.  But  he 
kept  in  touch  with  the  affairs  of  the  island.  When  the 
political  situation  became  acute  about  1850,  he  wrote 
some  of  his  most  famous  tracts,  and  again  in  1865  when 
reforms  by  Spain  seemed  imminent  he  came  into  public 
notice.  Even  after  his  death  extracts  from  his  book  on 
slavery  served  in  the  literary  fight  preparing  the  success- 
ful revolution  of  1895.  Thus  Saco's  life  and  writings 
correspond  to  a  long  epoch  in  Cuban  history. 

Before  passing  on,  however,  a  word  must  be  said  about 
Del  Monte's  influence  on  prose  literature  other  than 
political.  "Without  doubt  Domingo  del  Monte  y  Aponte 
was  one  of  the  persons  to  whom  Cuban  letters  must  be 
most  grateful."^  By  example  Del  Monte  tried  to  demon- 
strate the  literary  value  of  fiction,  but  in  this  department 
he  was  surpassed  by  two  young  men  in  his  circle,  Anselmo 
Suarezy  Romero  (1818-78)  and  Cirilo  Villaverde  (1812- 
94).  Both  wrote  with  the  inspiring  idea  of  realistically 
depicting  Cuban  life. 

Suarez  y  Romero  as  the  painter  of  Cuban  customs  is 
one  of  the  foremost  Cuban  writers  of  prose.  By  Del 
Monte's  advice  he  chose  to  write  articles  on  manners  in 
which  he  should  touch  on  evils  that  ought  to  be  cor- 
rected. What  Milanes  was  doing  in  verse  Suarez  contin- 
ued in  prose.  His  Coleccion  de  Articulos,  published  in  1857, 
aroused  such  enthusiasm  for  its  excellent  diction  that  it 

1  D.  Figarola  Caneda  in  Cuba  Contemporanea,  Vol.  V,  433.  To  Senor 
Figarola  Caneda,  the  distinguished  Hbrarian  of  the  Cuban  national 
library,  Cuban  letters  are  indebted  for  many  literary  studies,  such  as 
is  BiUiografxa  de  R.  Merchan. 


was  adopted  in  the  Colegio  de  San  Salvador  as  a  text  for 
lessons  in  reading.  The  evil  which  Suarez  mainly  attacked 
was  negro  slavery.  In  1838  appeared  his  first  tale  Fran- 
cisco, the  dramatic  story  of  a  pair  of  lovers,  negro  slaves, 
who  for  frivolous  reasons  are  forbidden  to  marry.  This 
act  of  their  wealthy  mistress  results  in  much  misfortune. 
When  the  young  woman  passes  into  the  possession  of 
the  owner's  son,  Francisco  hangs  himself.  The  local 
color  of  the  whole  tale  and  especially  the  portrait  of 
the  old  stage  driver  was  greatly  praised  by  the  poet 

The  same  theme  of  African  slavery  is  the  basis  of 
Cirilo  Villaverde's  story  Cecilia  Vald'es.  On  account  of 
its  length  and  its  purpose  of  depicting  the  whole  of  Cuban 
society  from  the  Captain  General  down  to  the  humble 
negro  it  well  deserves  the  name  of  the  first  Cuban  novel. 
Cecilia  is  a  beautiful  mulattress  the  daughter  of  an  igno- 
rant and  vulgar  Spaniard  enriched  by  the  slave  trade. 
His  legitimate  son,  Leonardo,  ignorant  of  the  blood  tie 
which  unites  him  to  Cecilia  falls  in  love  with  her,  suc- 
cessfully baffling  his  father's  efforts  to  keep  them  apart. 
A  mulatto,  Pimienta,  is  also  in  love  with  Cecilia,  who, 
proud  of  Leonardo's  wooing,  scornfully  rejects  the  humble 
suitor.  A  day  arrives*  when  Leonardo  marries  a  young 
lady  of  his  own  class.  Cecilia,  mad  with  jealousy,  incites 
Pimienta  to  attack  the  couple  on  their  way  to  church 
for  the  wedding  ceremony.     Pimienta  stabs  Leonardo. 

This  novel,  left  unfinished  by  its  author  in  1839,  was 
completed  forty  years  later.  It  has  been  called  a  photo- 
graph of  Havana  in  the  thirties,  because  it  minutely 
relates  real  events,  giving  the  names  of  the  persons  con- 

CUBA  385 

cemed.  The  Captain  General  is  not  spared  but  appears 
in  the  act  of  granting  an  audience  at  a  cockfight  to  which 
sport  he  is  much  attached.  The  guajiro  bravo  and  as- 
sassin and  the  negro  Tonda  employed  by  the  governor 
for  underhand  enterprises  are  also  types  of  the  period. 
The  rich  slave  trader  Gamboa  who  buys  a  title  of  nobility 
and  his  spendthrift  and  worthless  son  spoiled  by  an  in- 
dulgent mother  are  drawn  from  life. 

The  negro  problem  soon  after  the  period  described  in 
this  story,  took  on  extreme  significance  in  Cuban  politics. 
Connected  with  this  problem  was  the  personal  fate  of 
one  of  Cuba's  leading  poets  who  though  a  mulatto  was 
received  at  Del  Monte's  tertulias.  His  execution  on  sus- 
picion of  being  a  leader  in  a  negro  uprising  has  lent  an 
additional  interest  to  his  poems. 

Gabriel  de  la  Concepcion  Valdes  (1809-44),  com- 
monly known  by  his  pen  name  "Placido"  was  the  son 
of  a  Spanish  dancing  girl  and  a  mulatto  hair  dresser. 
Following  the  condition  of  his  mother  he  was  free  but 
therefore  compelled  to  earn  his  living.  He  learned  the 
trade  of  making  tortoise  shell  combs.  Somebody  taught 
him  to  read  and  his  acquaintances  loaned  him  books.  A 
volume  of  Martinez  de.  la  Rosa's  poems  incited  him  to 
attempt  the  composition  of  verse,  whereby  he  discovered 
that  he  possessed  a  real  gift  of  song.  A  druggist,  Fran- 
cisco Placido  Puentes,  supplied  him  with  writing  ma- 
terials and  an  opportunity  to  write  in  his  store.  In  return 
he  selected  "  Placido*'  as  a  pen  name.  Some  say,  however, 
that  the  name  was  derived  from  Madame  de  Genlis' 
novel  Placido  y  Blanca.  He  was  introduced  into  the 
circle  of  Valdes  Machuca  by  Velez  y  Herrera.    Thus  he 


became  one  of  the  poets  who  composed  the  Aureola 
Pokica  in  honor  of  Martinez  de  la  Rosa.  Placido's  con- 
tribution, La  Siempreviva,  was  considered  the  best  poem 
in  the  garland.  At  any  rate  the  minister  wrote  a  personal 
letter  of  thanks  to  his  poor  mulatto  admirer. 

Placido's  earlier  poems  and  perhaps  the  majority  of 
those  in  the  volume  of  his  collected  verses  are  occasional 
in  character,  birthday  congratulations,  condolences  and 
the  like.  According  to  some,  he  was  all  too  ready  to  pur- 
chase crumbs  of  favor  by  reciting  at  evening  parties  such 
verses  as  he  had  written  for  the  occasion.  Milanes  prob- 
ably referred  to  him  as  El  Poeta  envilecido  in  the  lines 
reproaching  an  unnamed  poet  for  degrading  his  art  by 
singing  at  the  magnate's  feast  "without  shame  or  sense, 
and  disputing  a  bone  with  the  mastiff."  But  there  is 
rich  grain  among  the  chaff  of  Placido*s  work. 

Among  the  purely  lyrical  pieces  are  some  letrillas  with 
such  fragrant  titles  as  La  Flor  del  Cafe,  La  Flor  de  la  Pina, 
La  Flor  de  la  Cana.  These  alone  have  carried  Placido's 
name  over  Spanish  America.  They  are  not  descriptive 
but  are  little  pictures  of  native  life  and  love  making,  in 
which  the  words  of  the  title  serve  as  a  refrain. 

Among  Placido's  compositions  with  a  historical  theme 
is  a  remarkable  romance,  Xicontencal,  remarkable  because 
the  author  has  quite  caught  the  spirit  and  movement  of 
the  old  Spanish  ballads.  Xicontencal,  a  young  Tlascalan 
chief  who  has  just  triumphed  over  the  warriors  of  Monte- 
zuma, is  being  carried  in  a  litter  through  his  native  city. 
His  eye  happens  to  rest  on  some  Aztec  prisoners  bound 
to  stakes  in  preparation  for  their  burning  alive.  Leaping 
down,  the  young  chief  frees  the  prisoners,  bidding  them 

CUBA  387 

return  to  Mexico  with  the  message  that  his  victories  will 
not  be  stained  by  such  cruelties  as  their  monarch  prac- 
tices, but  he  is  ready  to  fight  him  even  at  the  odds  of  one 
to  three  hundred. 

To  a  talented  man  in  the  social  position  of  Gabriel  de 
la  Concepcion  Valdes,  whose  very  name,  according  to  the 
custom  of  the  foundling  asylum  which  had  sheltered  his 
infancy,  commemorated  the  charity  of  the  good  bishop 
who  established  the  asylum,  life  must  at  times  have  seemed 
very  bitter.  An  expression  of  such  feelings  can  at  least 
be  read  into  some  of  his  poems.  In  the  beautiful  lines  on 
La  Palma  y  la  Mahay  the  insignificant  mallow  nestling 
in  the  grass  of  a  lofty  hill  is  full  of  pride  at  her  position 
and  speaks  with  condescension  to  the  palm  tree  on  the 
plain  below.  With  head  erect  the  palm  replies: — "Do 
you  consider  yourself  the  greater  merely  because  you 
were  bom  in  a  high  place.?  The  place  where  you  happen 
to  be  is  great,  not  you." 

His  feelings  about  liberty,  expressed  with  all  the  ardor 
of  African  blood,  are  Tevealed  in  a  sonnet  on  the  death 
of  the  tyrant  Gessler.  It  pictures  Tell  standing  exultant 
over  the  quivering  corpse  of  the  tyrant  and  holding  his 
bow  as  a  symbol  of  liberty.  More  explicit  are  the  poet's 
words  in  verses  to  the  Mexican  general,  Adolfo  de  la  Flor, 
which  he  is  to  read  on  reaching  Mexican  soil.  "Go,  yes, 
go  to  the  shores  where  liberty  is;  and  on  arriving  at  the 
beach,  draw  forth  my  verses,  bend  your  knee  and  touch 
them  three  times  to  the  earth.  Since  my  ill  fortune  and 
the  seas  prevent  my  enjoying  the  divine  essence,  may 
my  songs  enjoy  it.  And  when  you  learn  of  my  death, 
5end  dust  moistened  with  your  tears  in  a  litter  to  some 


faithful  friend  and  that  shall  be  the  most  precious  flower 
with  which  you  can  adorn  my  tomb." 

As  the  author  of  such  verses  and  a  prominent  member 
of  the  African  race  it  was  natural  that  Placido  should  fall 
under  the  suspicion  of  the  authorities  when,  in  1844,  they 
scented  a  negro  uprising.  Moreover,  he  was  denounced 
as  the  author  of  certain  patriotic  lines  circulating  in  manu- 
script. With  ten  others  he  was  thrown  into  prison.  After 
a  sort  of  trial  he  was  condemned  to  die.  He  had  stoutly 
defended  his  innocence  of  any  complicity  in  sinister 
plotting  and  expected  eventually  to  be  released.  When 
however  the  sentence  of  death  was  announced  to  him  he 
replied: — "I  shall  die  singing  like  the  Cuban  nightingale." 
On  the  way  to  the  place  of  execution  he  did  recite  verses 
of  his  own  composition.  After  his  death  there  were  put 
into  circulation  three  fine  poems  whose  excellence  combined 
with  the  tragic  circumstance  of  his  end  did  more  to  confer 
on  him  the  name  of  real  poet  than  all  the  remainder  of 
his  work. 

The  shortest  is  a  sonnet,  Despedida  a  mi  Madre,  in  which 
he  bids  his  mother  not  to  grieve,  for  his  lyre  utters  its 
last  sound  to  her  memory  while  the  mantle  of  religion 
covers  him.  In  the  Adios  a  mi  Lira  he  expressed  in  noble 
words  the  consolation  which  the  cultivation  of  poetry 
had  been  to  him.  His  lyre,  he  declared,  will  not  remain 
in  the  dust  of  a  vile  prison;  he  begs  God  to  accept  it.  He 
has  dreamed  of  a  world  of  pure  glory  and  justice  which 
men  do  not  understand  but  angels  have  seen,  that  world 
which  he  hopes  to  see  within  a  few  hours  and  then  he  will 
praise  God  that  he  has  departed  from  this  mansion  of 
crimes.    The  final  stanza  runs  thus:  "Farewell,  my  lyre, 

CUBA  389 

commended  to  God.  Farewell!  I  bless  thee!  My  calm 
spirit  inspired  by  thee  scorns  the  cruelty  of  hostile  fate. 
Men  will  see  thee  consecrated  to-day.  God  and  my  last 
farewell  remain  with  thee,  for  between  God  and  the  tomb 
one  tells  no  lies.  Farewell!  I  am  going  to  die — I  am 

Somewhat  shorter,  the  Plegaria  a  Dios  is  the  most 
famous  of  all  by  reason  of  its  lofty  sentiment  and  artistic 
form.  It  was  said  that  Placido  recited  this  prayer  on  the 
way  to  execution.    It  has  been  translated  into  EngHsh. 

O  God  of  love  unbounded!    Lord  supreme! 

In  overwhelming  grief  to  thee  I  fly. 

Rending  this  veil  of  hateful  calumny, 

Oh  let  thine  arm  of  might  my  fame  redeem! 

Wipe  thou  this  foul  disgrace  from  off  my  brow, 

With  which  the  world  hath  sought  to  stamp  it  now. 

Thou  King  of  Kings,  my  fathers*  God  and  mine. 
Thou  only  art  my  sure  and  strong  defence. 
.  The  polar  snows,  the  tropic  fires  intense. 
The  shaded  sea,  the  air,  the  light  are  thine: 
The  life  of  leaves,  the  water's  changeful  tide. 
All  things  are  thine,  and  by  thy  will  abide. 

Thou  art  all  power;  all  life  from  thee  goes  forth, 
And  fails  or  flows  obedient  to  thy  breath; 
Without  thee  all  is  naught;  in  endless  death 
All  nature  sinks  forlorn  and  nothing  worth. 
Yet  even  the  Void  obeys  thee;  and  from  naught 
By  thy  dread  word  the  living  man  was  wrought. 

Merciful  God!    How  should  I  thee  deceive? 

Let  thy  eternal  wisdom  search  my  soul! 

Bowed  down  to  earth  by  falsehood's  base  control. 


Her  stainless  wings  not  now  the  air  may  cleave. 
Send  forth  thine  hosts  of  truth  and  set  her  free! 
Stay  thou,  O  Lord,  the  oppressor's  victory! 

Forbid  it,  Lord,  by  that  most  free  outpouring 

Of  thine  own  most  precious  blood  for  every  brother 

Of  our  lost  race,  and  by  thy  Holy  Mother, 

So  full  of  grief,  so  loving,  so  adoring. 

Who  clothed  in  sorrow  followed  thee  afar. 

Weeping  thy  death  like  a  declining  star. 

But  if  this  lot  thy  love  ordains  to  me. 
To  yield  to  foes  most  cruel  and  unjust, 
To  die  and  leave  my  poor  and  senseless  dust 
The  scofF  and  sport  of  their  weak  enmity. 
Speak  Thou,  and  then  Thy  purposes  fulfill; 
Lord  of  my  life,  work  Thou  Thy  perfect  will. 

The  three  posthumous  poems  on  which  Placido's  repu- 
tation as  a  great  poet  mainly  depends,  have  given  rise  to 
a  controversy  concerning  their  authenticity.  Manuel 
Sanguily,  recently  Cuban  secretary  of  state  and  in  early 
life  an  active  partisan  of  Cuban  independence,  contends 
that  the  poems  are  apocryphal,  basing  his  belief  on  the 
following  arguments.  The  poems  circulated  in  manu- 
script for  some  time  after  Placido*s  execution.  An  eye- 
witness to  his  death  testified  that  the  words  which  the 
poet  recited  on  the  way  to  the  place  of  execution  were 
not  those  of  the  Plegaria,  but  of  his  sonnet,  La  Fatalidad, 
Moreover,  during  the  months  of  his  incarceration  Placido 
firmly  expected  to  be  released,  so  that  certain  expressions 
in  these  poems  do  not  ring  true.  The  Despedida  a  mi 
madre  implies  that  she  had  lost  track  of  her  son,  whereas. 

CUBA  391 

it  is  known  that  mother  and  son  maintained  their  rela« 
tions.  Finally  there  is  no  tradition  respecting  the  manner 
by  which  the  poems  were  transmitted  from  the  prison. 

Sanguily  has  not,  however,  revealed  the  name  of  the 
man  who  he  believes  is  their  author;  but  he  has  promised 
to  do  so  when  his  book  about  Placido  is  ready.  Sanguily 
first  advanced  his  theory  in  his  revolutionary  journal 
Hojas  literariaSy  in  1893,  at  a  time  when  a  sensational  dis- 
cussion of  the  famous  poet's  last  hours  would  direct 
attention  quite  as  much  to  the  part  played  in  them  by 
the  Spaniards,  and  to  the  political  question  in  general 
as  it  would  to  the  question  of  fact  in  literary  history. 

Placido's  death  marks  the  end  of  an  epoch  in  Cuban 
letters.  Succeeding  poets  with  the  exception  of  Ramon 
de  Palma  belong  to  a  younger  generation.  Ramon  de 
Palma  y  Romay  (1812-60),  though  he  was  a  member  of 
Del  Monte's  tertulia  and  joint  editor  with  Echevarria  of 
El  Plantely  followed  in  his  later  poems  the  new  fashions. 
In  using  poetry  to  inculcate  morality,  Palma  showed  him- 
self a  disciple  of  Milanes.  In  the  flight  of  a  gull,  for  ex- 
ample, he  could  find  grandiose  thoughts  to  describe  the 
journey  of  the  poet  through  the  desert  of  selfish  human 
society.  That  poem  of  his  early  period  most  praised  by 
his  friends  was  an  ode  on  an  epidemic  of  cholera  which 
in  1833  ravaged  the  city  of  Havana.  Against  this  back- 
ground he  sketched  the  power  of  God.  The  same  theme 
also  served  him  for  a  prose  tale  full  of  realistic  details. 
This  was  not  the  only  tale  which  he  produced,  however, 
for  by  profession  Palma  was  a  schoolmaster  who  wrote 
continually  for  the  papers  both  in  prose  and  verse.  He 
even  essayed  the  drama,  and  it  is  said  that  he  was  the 


first  Cuban  to  have  a  play  staged.  In  1837  was  pro- 
duced La  Prueha  0  la  Fuelta  del  Cruzado.  Ten  years 
later  he  had  the  pleasure  of  listening  to  an  Italian  opera 
troupe  in  an  operetta  for  which  he  wrote  the  libretto. 
Una  Escena  del  Descubrimiento  de  America  por  Colon.  Of 
the  poems  which  he  wrote  in  his  later  period  when  the 
whisperings  of  liberty  were  beginning  to  stir  in  Cuba,  the 
most  important  was  a  very  excellent  translation  of  Man- 
zoni*s  famous  ode  on  the  death  of  Napoleon,  //  Cinque 
Maggio,  On  account  of  his  literary  activity  Palma  fell 
under  suspicion  of  complicity  in  the  troubles  of  1852, 
and  suffered  imprisonment  for  a  short  time. 

These  troubles  were  the  outcome  of  the  activity  of  a 
party  which  believed  that  a  solution  for  Cuba's  ills  lay 
in  the  annexation  of  the  island  by  the  United  States. 
The  ferocity  with  which  the  captain  general  Leopoldo 
O'Donnell  suppressed  the  supposed  negro  insurrection 
of  1844,  spared  neither  whites  nor  blacks.  Prominent 
Cubans  of  all  classes  fell  under  suspicion.  Even  Del 
Monte,  at  whose  tertulias  the  negro  poets  Placido  and 
Manzano  had  been  welcome  was  accused.  Fortunately 
at  this  time  he  was  in  Europe  where  influential  friends 
were  able  to  save  him  from  disgrace.  But  the  stern  meas- 
ures of  the  government  only  fanned  the  flames  of  dis- 

Jose  Antonio  Saco  from  his  safe  retreat  in  the  United 
States  sent  many  tracts  to  Cuba.  He  had  modified  some- 
what his  earlier  views  and  demanded,  in  case  Spain  re- 
fused to  grant  reforms,  absolute  independence  for  Cuba. 
In  his  Ideas  sohre  la  incorporacion  de  Cuba  en  los  Estados 
UnidoSy    1848,    he    opposed    the    annexationists    on   the 

CUBA  393 

ground  that  immigration  from  the  United  States  would 
bring  about  a  gradual  disappearance  of  Cuban  nationality. 
His  Situacion  de  Cuba  y  su  remedio^  1851,  showed  the 
necessity  of  granting  to  Cuba  an  ample  degree  of  liberty; 
in  default  of  which  Spain  would  lose  the  island.  He  set 
forth  these  alternatives  in  the  eloquent  0  Espana  concede 
a  Cuba  derechos  politicos  0  Cuba  se  pierde  para  Espana. 
This  essay  is  now  the  classic  example  of  Cuban  political 

The  annexationist  party  found  it  an  easy  matter  to 
arouse  popular  enthusiasm  in  their  favor  throughout  the 
United  States.  Besides,  Southern  politicians  believed 
that  the  annexation  of  Cuba  would  provide  more  slave 
territory.  In  the  island,  Narciso  Lopez,  a  native  of 
Venezuela,  who  had  been  a  general  in  Spain  in  the  Carlist 
war,  was  fired  by  the  ambition  of  becoming  the  liberator 
of  Cuba.  For  that  purpose  he  came  to  the  United  States 
and  organized  two  filibustering  expeditions.  The  first 
failed  through  the  interference  of  the  government  of  the 
United  States.  Despite  its  activities  Lopez  found  little 
difficulty  in  securing  in  several  cities  parties  of  adven- 
turers. It  is  noteworthy  that  they  enrolled  under  a  flag 
with  three  blue  and  two  white  stripes,  at  the  top  of  which 
was  a  red  field  bearing  a  single  white  star,  the  present 
emblem  of  free  Cuba.  Lopez'  second  expedition  sailed 
from  New  Orleans,  August  3d,  185 1.  On  reaching  the 
Cuban  coast,  his  steamer  ran  aground  about  sixteen  miles 
from  Havana.  Though  Lopez  and  the  main  body  of 
filibusters  succeeded  in  gaining  the  mountains,  an  Amer- 
ican colonel  Crittenden  and  fifty  others  in  charge  of  the 
equipment  were  captured  by  Spanish  soldiers,  taken   to 


Havana  and  shot  in  the  pubHc  square.     Lopez  himself 
somewhat  later  suffered  a  like  fate. 

Political  agitation  in  the  United  States  for  the  purchase 
of  Cuba  from  Spain  nevertheless  continued.  Bills  were 
introduced  into  Congress  appropriating  money  for  that 
purpose  though  without  success.  Spain's  attitude  was 
well  expressed  by  a  Spanish  minister  who  frankly  told 
Americans  who  broached  the  subject  that  he  believed  it 
to  be  the  feeling  of  his  country  that  sooner  than  see  the 
island  transferred  to  any  power  they  would  prefer  seeing 
it  sunk  in  the  ocean.  In  1854  James  Buchanan,  then 
minister  to  Great  Britain,  met  the  American  ministers  to 
France  and  Spain,  and  together  they  formulated  and 
issued  a  remarkable  document  known  as  the  "Ostend 
Manifesto"  in  which  they  declared  that  "from  the  pe- 
culiarity of  its  geographical  position  Cuba  is  as  necessary 
to  the  North  American  republic  as  any  of  its  present 
members."  Buchanan  when  president  continually  urged 
in  his  annual  messages  the  purchase  of  the  island.  And 
in  the  presidential  campaign  of  i860,  one  slogan  of  the 
Democrats  was  "Cuba  must  be  ours." 

In  Cuba,  however,  there  was  little  enthusiasm  at  the 
idea  of  annexation,  a  fact  which  is  sometimes  given  as 
the  cause  of  Lopez'  complete  failure.  The  contribution  to 
Cuban  psychology  made  by  Saco's  writings  in  propagat- 
ing the  ideal  of  a  Cuban  state  is  the  most  that  came  of  the 
agitation  of  these  years.  For  a  decade  the  young  men 
wrote  verses  with  a  minimum  of  political  significance. 
And  during  the  fifties  there  was  a  second  flourishing  period 
of  Cuban  poetry. 

The  year  1853  witnessed  the  publication  of  an  attrac- 

CUBA  395 

tlve  collection  of  poems  by  four  writers,  in  a  volume  en- 
titled Cuatro  Laiides,  by  name  Ramon  Zambrana,  J.  G. 
Roldan,  R.  M.  de  Mendive  and  Felipe  Lopez  de  Briiias. 
The  first  was  a  man  of  great  culture  and  taste,  a  physician 
by  profession,  and  a  professor  of  the  natural  sciences  who 
wrote  much  on  his  professional  studies.  As  a  poet  Dr. 
Ramon  Zambrana  (1817-83),  acknowledged  Del  Monte 
as  his  "master  in  literature"  during  his  student  days. 
To  Del  Monte  he  dedicated  a  volume  of  his  poems  which 
he  says  "are  stamped  by  Del  Monte's  approval"  having 
been  read  and  criticised  by  the  latter  shortly  before  his 
death.  The  poems  belong  to  the  metaphysical  type  and 
deal  with  abstractions,  the  mystery  of  existence,  light 
and  harmony,  or  the  creation.  If  he  dwells  on  the  beauties 
of  nature  it  is  for  the  purpose  of  drawing  an  allegory  as  in 
the  tender  lines  of  La  Azucena  y  el  Agua.  The  water 
addressing  the  lily  laments  that  the  most  beautiful  flower 
on  her  course  should  be  surrounded  by  brambles.  The 
sympathetic  personality  of  the  man  is  here  revealed.  His 
popularity  due  to  his  character  was  somewhat  enhanced 
by  his  romantic  marriage  to  the  poetess,  Dona  Luisa 
Perez  (bom  1837),  and  her  agreeable  qualities.  Their 
acquaintance  began  through  the  reading  of  her  first  little 
volume  of  verses,  which  she  published  at  the  age  of  nine- 
teen. After  correspondence  with  her,  for  she  lived  at  the 
eastern  end  of  Cuba,  he  paid  a  visit  which  resulted  in 
their  marriage,  1858. 

The  freshness  of  her  poems,  redolent  of  the  fields  and 
the  country,  must  have  delighted  him.  His  own  poems 
have  nothing  so  fragrant  as  El  Lirio.  The  poetess  feigns 
to  have  discovered  a  lily  beside  a  stream  running  through 


a  valley  paved  with  green,  whither  she  betakes  herself 
daily  to  attend  the  treasure.  Perhaps  his  own  little 
allegory  on  the  lily  may  have  been  suggested  by  her  lines 
and  refer  to  her  personally. 

Jose  Gonzalo  Roldan  (1822-56)  essayed  unsuccessfully 
the  elevated  style.  In  a  softer  mood,  however,  he  wrote  a 
most  charming  little  poem.  El  Aguacero;  charming  for  its 
tender  delicacy  of  suggestion  in  rendering  the  situation  and 
the  setting.  The  poet  explains  to  a  trembling  country  girl 
that  the  storm  which  frightens  her  is  only  a  passing  shower; 
he  invites  her  to  keep  her  clothing  dry  by  coming  under 
shelter  and  tries  to  calm  her  agitation  by  calling  her 
attention  to  the  phenomena  accompanying  the  rain  and 
to  the  sweet  odors  from  the  vegetation. 

Nature  in  various  moods  as  reflected  in  the  sentimental 
spirit  of  the  poet  furnished  the  matter  for  the  other  two 
contributors  to  Cuatro  Laudes.  In  florid  language,  Felipe 
Lopez  de  Brifias  (1822-77)  sought  to  render  the  music 
of  the  woods  in  La  Miisica  del  Bosque  or  the  sentiments 
inspired  by  the  dawn,  El  Amanecer.  His  best  piece.  Canto 
sdficoy  was  addressed  to  his  wife  whom  he  calls  in  the 
opening  line  "Chaste  dove."  He  bids  her  awake  because 
the  morning  calls  him  to  his  daily  task  and  pray  for  him. 
At  work  he  is  cheered  by  thinking  of  her.  If  men  should 
refuse  him  assistance  he  would  take  her  into  the  beautiful 
woods  where  they  would  live  apart  from  men  on  the 
bounties  of  Providence. 

Of  more  sustained  inspiration  was  Rafael  Maria  de 
Mendive  (1821-86).  Yet  the  verdict  of  a  Cuban  critic, 
"Mendive's  lyre  has  but  one  string,"  has  long  been  con- 
sidered  a  just  characterization  of  his  sentimental   and 

CUBA  397 

melancholy  poetry.  His  first  volume  of  verse  appeared  in 
1847  with  the  title  Pasionarias.  Its  contents  so  pleased 
our  poet  Longfellow  that  he  sent  an  inscribed  copy  of  his 
own  poems  to  the  Cuban  bard.  Shortly  after,  Mendive 
went  to  Europe  by  way  of  the  United  States  and  during 
his  four  years  there  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  prom- 
inent men  in  France,  Spain  and  Italy.  He  returned  to 
Cuba  possessed  of  a  love  of  letters  and  eager  to  be  of 
service  to  his  native  island.  Thus  he  not  only  published 
the  collection  of  poems,  Cuatro  Laudes,  but  in  1853  with 
Quintiliano  Garcia  founded  a  fortnightly,  Revista  de  la 
Hahana.  This  magazine  was  ambitious  in  its  scope  and 
became  the  medium  of  publication  for  a  group  of  young 
writers.  In  respect  to  its  importance  and  his  influence  a 
Cuban  has  said,  "After  Del  Monte,  Mendive  is  the  man 
who  has  done  most  to  prevent  the  dying  out  of  enthusiasm 
for  art  among  us." 

His  enthusiasm  for  poetic  art  led  Mendive  to  make  many 
metrical  translations.  His  rendering  of  Byron's  song 

I  saw  thee  weep — the  big  bright  tear 
Came  o'er  that  eye  of  blue; 
And  then  methought  it  did  appear 
A  violet  dropping  dew, 

has  long  been  a  favorite  with  Cuban  lovers.  His  versions 
of  Tom  Moore's  Irish  Melodies  earned  for  him  the  so- 
briquet of  the  Cuban  Moore.  He  also  arranged  for  the 
stage  Gulnara,  an  operatic  version  of  Byron's  Corsair. 
Original  dramatic  efforts  of  his  which  he  made  for  his 
mother-in-law's  theater  have  been  forgotten. 


In  this  theater  occurred  an  incident  which  led  to  Men- 
dive's  banishment  from  Cuba.  When  the  revolution  of 
1868  broke  out  Mendive  was  the  principal  of  a  school  for 
boys  in  Havana.  In  January  of  the  following  year  there 
was  a  popular  demonstration  of  an  unusual  sort  in  protest 
against  a  tyrannical  proclamation  of  a  Spanish  general. 
The  performance  of  a  certain  comedy  in  the  theater 
Villanueva  was  attended  by  groups  of  women  with  their 
hair  flowing  loose  and  attired  in  garments  of  white  and 
blue  bespangled  with  stars,  thus  suggesting  the  Cuban 
revolutionary  colors.  Rioting  and  bloodshed  resulted. 
Mendive  was  arrested  by  the  authorities  as  the  instigator 
of  this  picturesque  protest  and  deported  to  Spain  for  four 
years'  imprisonment.  There,  however,  literary  acquaint- 
ances succeeded  in  procuring  his  release.  He  recrossed  the 
Atlantic  and  settled  in  New  York  where  he  lived  in  great 
poverty  till  permitted  by  the  general  amnesty  at  the  close 
of  the  revolution  to  return  to  Cuba. 

During  these  years  he  made  use,  however,  of  his  poetic 
gifts  to  encourage  the  revolution.  When  his  son  had  de- 
parted on  the  ill-fated  filibustering  steamer  "  Virginius,"  he 
wrote  those  lines  with  the  refrain, 

Has  hecho  bien,  hijo  mio, 
has  hecho  muy  bien  en  ir 
a  donde  el  honor  te  llama 
por  la  patria  a  combatir.^ 

lines  in  which  like  a  father  who  has  cheerfully  given  his 
own  son  for  the  cause,  he  strove  to  stimulate  to  patriotic 
action  other  Cubans  living  at  ease  in  New  York.    An  even 

*  Thou  hast  done  well,  my  son,  thou  hast  done  very  well  to  go  where 
honor  calls  thee  to  fight  for  thy  country. 

CUBA  399 

severer  flagellation  of  unpatriotic  Cubans  was  his  poem 
Los  Dormidos,  "these  slaves  of  pleasure  who  patiently 
endure  the  whip  on  their  shoulders  and  fetters  on  their 
feet."  If  they  will  not  bestir  themselves,  "let  them  sleep 
on  till  the  avenging  bolt  of  celestial  anger  surprises  them." 
Mendive's  work  as  a  poet,  however,  is  more  essentially 
that  of  a  lover  of  nature  in  whom  its  beauties  inspire  a ' 
train  of  moral  or  melancholy  suggestions.  The  favorite 
A  un  Arroyo  is  of  this  sort.  Another  favorite  poem.  La 
Gota  de  Rocioy  exemplifies  the  delicacy  of  his  fancy.  How 
beautiful,  the  poet  exclaims,  is  a  drop  of  dew;  whether  it 
be  on  the  feather  of  a  bird  or  on  the  petal  of  a  flower, 
whether  on  any  of  the  trees  of  the  forest  or  gliding  among 
the  roses.  Perhaps  it  is  an  angel's  tear.  After  his  death 
the  mysterious  light  of  a  drop  of  dew  will  illumine  his  name 
on  his  tombstone.  Some  thirsty  bird  will  view  it  with 
rapture,  a  poet's  tear  shining  on  the  marble.  Mendive's 
tenderness  is  exhibited  in  his  Sonrisa  de  la  VirgeUy  of 
which  there  exists  this  metrical  translation  ascribed  to 

Purer  than  the  early  breeze. 
Or  the  faint  perfume  of  flowers. 
Maiden!  through  thine  angel  hours 

Pass  the  thoughts  of  love; 
Purer  than  the  tender  light 
On  the  morning's  gentle  face, 
,  On  thy  lips  of  maiden  grace 

Plays  thy  virgin  smile! 

Like  a  bird's  thy  rapture  is. 
Angel  eyes  thine  eyes  enlighten, 
On  thy  gracious  forehead  brighten 
Flashes  from  above; 


Flower-like  thy  breathings  are. 
Free  thy  dreams  from  sinful  strife. 
And  the  sunlight  of  thy  life 
Is  thy  virgin  smile! 

Loose  thou  never,  gentle  child. 
Thy  spring  garland  from  thy  brow. 
Through  life's  flowery  fields,  as  now. 

Wander  careless  still; 
Sweetly  sing  and  gaily  run. 
Drinking  in  the  morning  air. 
Free  and  happy  everywhere, 

With  thy  virgin  smile! 

Love  and  pleasure  are  but  pains," 

Bitter  grief  and  miseries. 

Withered  leaves,  which  every  breeze 

Tosses  at  its  will; 
Live  thou  purely  with  thy  joy, 
With  thy  wonder  and  thy  peace. 
Blessing  life,  till  life  shall  cease. 

With  thy  virgin  smile! 

A  new  type  of  poetry  was  introduced  into  Cuba  by 
Jose  Fomaris  (i  829-1 890)  and  became  so  popular  that 
books  of  verse  sold  by  thousands  in  Cuba.  Bethinking 
himself  of  the  aborigines  of  his  native  island,  he  sang: — 

The  memory  of  the  sunburnt  maids. 
With  slender  forms  and  soft  black  een. 
Who  dwelt  by  murmuring  cascades 
Beneath  an  arch  of  leafy  green : 
Of  stories  of  other  witching  days, 
Caught  by  surprise  at  the  Caonao, 
Beside  Bayamo  as  it  plays. 
Or  in  the  pure  waters  of  Arimao. 



■^  Fomaris*  Cantos  de  Siboney  are  a  series  of  legends  partly 
traditional  but  in  large  measure  imaginary.  Some  are 
conversations  between  lovers,  as  the  one  entitled  Eliana 
y  Guanari  in  which  the  maiden  is  reluctant  to  leave  her 
home  but  at  last  yields  to  her  lover's  persuasions  to  live 
in  the  beautiful  valley  of  Yumuri.  The  Cacique  de  Ornofay 
is  revealed  to  us  disputing  with  Columbus.  The  dis- 
coverer invites  him  to  see  the  splendors  of  Spain  and  the 
Spanish  court,  but  the  Indian  chief  refuses  to  believe  that 
anything  more  beautiful  in  this  world  than  his  woodland 
home  exists.  At  last  the  European  concurs  in  that  opinion. 
The  legend  of  the  Laguna  de  Ana  Luisa  explains  the  origin 
of  a  pool  thus  named.  An  Indian  maid  with  the  Christian 
name  Ana  Luisa  prefers  a  member  of  the  Siboney  tribe  to 
a  Carib.  The  latter  does  not  observe  with  as  much  pleas- 
ure as  the  reader  of  the  poem  their  wooing  among  the 
flowers  but  steals  treacherously  upon  them.  With  an 
arrow  he  slays  his  rival;  then  seizes  the  bride.  But  the 
river  rising  in  wild  indignation,  overwhelms  the  criminal 
and  buries  in  its  waters  the  bodies  of  all  three.  The  pool 
so  formed  still  remains.  On  its  banks  by  night  the  ghost 
of  Ana  Luisa  bewails  her  fate.  These  poems  are  written 
with  the  utmost  ease  and  simplicity  of  style.  The  author 
seemed  to  be  able  to  turn  out  an  illimitable  quantity. 

His  contemporaries  held  diverse  opinions  about  their 
value.  Dr.  Zambrana  was  enthusiastic  over  the  "new 
genre,  because  it  leaves  the  beaten  path."  On  the  other 
hand,  the  poet's  enemies  pointed  out  that  his  local  color 
did  not  agree  with  history;  that  he  made  no  effort  to 
depict  manners  and  customs;  that  his  Indians  made  love 
and  were  jealous  in  the  conventional  style;  that,  apart 


from  the  Indian  canoes  or  piraguas  and  numerous  names 
of  places  and  persons,  his  verses  differed  little  from  any- 
body else's.  Moreover,  in  the  actual  ethical  composition 
of  the  Cuban  people,  the  Indian  element  was  entirely 
lacking.  The  many  names  ending  in  two  vowels  were  a 
topic  for  sport.  Probably  the  worst  that  can  be  truthfully 
said  is  that  the  extreme  facility  which  he  possessed  in  com- 
posing verses  enticed  him  to  write  too  many. 

He  should  not  be  blamed  for  the  excesses  of  his  imitators, 
however,  the  most  notable  of  whom,  Juan  Cristobal 
Napoles  Fajardo  (bom  1829),  "El  Cuculambe"  enjoyed 
considerable  reputation  at  the  eastern  end  of  Cuba.  His 
volume  Rumores  del  Hormigo,  1857,  piles  up  the  Indian 
names  in  the  descriptions  of  their  love  affairs.  But  he  was 
more  successful  in  giving  literary  form  to  the  popular 
poetry  and  songs  of  the  people  among  whom  he  lived,  in 
both  essential  qualities  of  local  color  and  truth.  He  ex- 
celled his  master  Fomaris  as  a  painter  of  customs  and  the 
beauties  of  nature. 

Miguel  Teurbe  de  Tolon  (1820-58),  without  being  an 
imitator  of  Fornaris,  was  at  least  stimulated  by  his  ex- 
ample to  bring  out  in  1856  a  little  volume  entitled  Ro- 
mances Cubanos  in  which  he  strove  to  live  up  to  his 
doctrine  that  the  "Cuban  ballad  was  the  true  road  to 
emancipation  for  our  literature."  Unfortunately  he  had 
very  little  popular  history  to  work  on,  so  that  his  ballads 
contain  little  that  is  realistic  beyond  the  cockfights  of  the 
countrymen  and  their  incorrect  language.  His  bandits  are 
not  very  attractive.  On  the  other  hand,  some  poems  of 
personal  inspiration  are  pleasing,  because  he  wrote  from 
experience.    He  lived  an  exile  from  Cuba  for  many  years 

CUBA  403 

as  secretary  of  the  Cuban  revolutionary  junta  in  New 
York.  He  wrote  for  newspapers  in  both  Spanish  and 
English,  so  that  versions  of  his  poems  exist  in  both  lan- 
guages. He  even  prepared  a  textbook  for  the  study  of 
Spanish.  The  notes  of  inspiration  in  his  poems  are  love  for 
his  mother,  for  Emilia  and  for  his  distant  native  land, 
whose  political  freedom  he  ardently  desired. 
*  Among  the  poems  of  permanent  value  which  were  first 
printed  in  the  Revista  de  la  Habana  should  be  mentioned 
La  Caida  de  Misolonghi  by  Joaquin  Lorenzo  Luaces  (1826- 
67).    This  begins  with  the  clarion  call, 

Revenge,  oh  Greeks!    Misolonghi  in  ruins 
To  Ibrahim  fell  with  all  her  brave; 
Let  the  Moslem  find  within  her  walls 
The  Greek  a  corpse  but  never  a  slave! 

The  quatrain  is  repeated  after  each  octave  in  which  the 
poet  urges  patriots  to  hasten  to  battle  with  the  tyrants 
and  to  shed  their  blood  for  their  wives  and  their  homes. 
What  is  the  life  of  a  Greek.?  Slow  death  and  infamous 
slavery  in  which  he  licks  the  chain  that  binds  him.  Such 
language,  since  it  was  applied  to  faraway  Greeks,  was 
permitted  by  the  Spanish  censor  to  appear  in  print;  but 
as  Rafael  Merchan  remarks,  the  poem  "has  never  been 
Greek  to  the  Cubans." 

Luaces,  having  studied  Greek,  took  for  his  model  the 
Pindaric  ode.  Moreover,  he  was  willing  to  polish  his  dic- 
tion till  he  made  a  good  imitation.  For  that  reason  per- 
haps, he  lacks  the  spontaneity  of  either  Heredia  or  Placido 
but  everybody  is  willing  with  Menendez  y  Pelayo  to  con- 
cede him  the  third  place  in  the  Cuban  Parnassus.    In  his 


^symbolism,  in  his  care  for  form,  in  his  wealth  of  imagery, 
as  in  the  exquisite  sonnet  La  Salida  del  Cafetal,  he  is  par 
excellence  an  artist. 

Beside  the  odes  in  which  he  concealed  his  love  of  liberty, 
under  foreign  names,  he  wrote  one  to  Cyrus  Field,  1859, 
upon  cornpletion  of  the  laying  of  the  transatlantic  cable. 
The  language  and  the  sentiments  are  as  noble  as  his  sub- 
ject. Field  is  placed  among  the  great  heroes  of  mankind. 
While  Alexander  and  Caesar  won  their  laurels  by  blood- 
shed. Field  has  achieved  his  glory  by  uniting  peoples  of 
different  race.  If  Columbus  overcame  space  and  opened 
America,  if  Fulton  with  his  steamboat  has  hastened  the 
flight  of  time.  Field  has  dominated  both  space  and  time. 
Mankind  should  honor  him  to  the  utmost  and  his  fame 
should  be  perpetuated  forever. 

In  imitation  of  Milanes'  moral  poems,  Luaces  wrote 
several,  the  best  of  which  is  La  Vida.  But  they  do  not 
contribute  so  much  to  his  reputation  as  his  dramas  wherein 
perhaps  he  also  followed  the  older  poet's  example.  Taken 
from  his  favorite  Greek  history,  he  wrote  Aristodemo. 
More  in  the  romantic  style  is  El  Mendigo  Rojo,  the  dram- 
atization of  an  incident  in  the  legend  of  the  Scotch  king 
James  IV.  The  legend  held  that  the  king  was  not  killed 
at  Flodden  Field  but,  disguised  as  a  beggar  and  assisted 
by  his  bastard  son  John,  he  wandered  about  his  kingdom. 
The  situation  is  very  similar  to  that  in  Zorrilla's  drama, 
Traidoff  inconfeso  y  mdrtir.  Another  play,  Arturo  de 
Osherg,  as  well  as  a  long  poem  in  three  cantos  of  epic  char- 
acter on  Cuba  is  said  to  have  been  left  among  Luaces' 
papers.    His  fame  however  is  quite  secure  without  these. 

In  the  year  i860  there  occurred  an  event  which  stirred 

CUBA  405 

the  Cuban  literary  world  to  its  depths.  Cuba's  most 
renowned  daughter,  "La  Avellaneda,"  after  twenty  years 
of  literary  triumphs  abroad,  returned  for  a  brief  sojourn. 
Dona_Gertrudis  Gomez  de  Atellaneda^  in  the  words  of 
Enrique  Pineyro,  "is  considered  (nemine  discrepante)  as 
the  foremost  of  all  women  who  have  written  verses  in  the 
Castilian  language."  Her  career,  however,  belongs  wholly 
to  the  literary  history  of  Spain  and,  except  for  the  en- 
thusiasm and  pride  which  it  inspired,  had  little  influence 
in  the  island.  But  her  admirers  gave  her  on  this  occasion 
a  royal  welcome.  Her  play.  La  Hija  de  las  Flores,  the 
scene  of  which  is  laid  in  the  Antilles,  was  produced  in  the 
theater.  The  Liceo  Habanero  voted  her  a  civic  crown  and 
appointed  to  put  it  on  her  head  their  resident  poetess,  Dofia 
Luisa  Perez  de  Zambrana. 

Dofia  Gertrudis  Gomez  de  Avellaneda  (1814-73)  left 
her  Cuban  home  in  Camagiiey  at  the  age  of  twenty-two 
in  order  to  accompany  to  Spain  her  mother  who  had 
married  a  colonel  in  the  Spanish  army.  In  1839  she  pub- 
lished in  Cadiz  her  first  volume  of  verses.  Arriving  in 
Madrid  in  1840  where  her  poems  had  already  made  her 
known  she  soon  became  an  important  figure  in  literary 
circles.  Though  she  continued  to  write  verses  which  dis- 
played a  union  of  the  classic  tradition  with  the  best  features 
of  the  Byronic  romanticism,  she  made  her  mark  on  the 
Spanish  theater  with  a  succession  of  dramas  of  great  merit. 
More  numerous  were  her  prose  tales,  some  of  which  were 
long  enough  to  be  classed  as  novels.  The  first  of  these  in 
point  of  time,  Sab,  having  for  its  chief  character  a  mulatto 
slave  contained  a  protest  against  slavery.  Of  her  poems 
a  few  had  Cuban  inspiration,  La  Estrella  de  Occidente,  z 


sonnet  expressing  her  farewell  to  Cuba,  A  la  muerte  de 
Heredia,  an  elegy,  and  other  Hnes  which  showed  that  her 
heart  always  beat  with  love  for  the  country  of  her  birth. 

In  as  great  degree  as  she  met  success  in  literary  endeavor 
was  she  unfortunate  in  love.  The  first  man  with  whom,  to 
judge  from  her  published  correspondence  she  fell  in  love, 
but  did  not  marry,  proved  cold  and  indiflPerent,  perhaps 
overwhelmed  by  her  superior  intelligence.  Her  first  hus- 
band lived  less  than  a  year  after  their  marriage.  Her 
second  husband  was  attacked  by  a  political  enemy  and 
stabbed.  And  it  was  for  the  purpose  of  seeking  an  improve- 
ment in  his  health  that  they  came  to  Havana  in  i860. 
But  as  he  died  after  a  few  months,  she  returned  to  Spain. 
For  her  troubles  she  sought  consolation  in  religion.  Con- 
sequently the  tone  of  her  poems  is  eminently  religious  in 
spite  of  the  passionate  robustness  of  her  lines  on  historical 
topics.  Her  dramatic  masterpiece,  Baltasar,  embodying 
the  well-known  biblical  incident  of  the  writing  on  the  wall 
at  Belshazzar's  feast,  and  her  less  effective  tragedy  Sauly 
show  the  same  tendencies. 

Poetical  activity  during  the  early  sixties  was  fostered 
by  Nicolas  Azcarate  (1828-94).  Like  Del  Monte  he 
aspired  to  be  the  patron  of  Cuban  literature  by  inviting 
poets  to  read  their  compositions  at  evening  parties  in  his 
home.  And  he  published  some  of  their  effusions  in  an 
elegant  volume,  Noches  literarias  en  casa  de  Nicolas  Az- 
carate. Moreover,  he  assisted  needy  poets  financially. 
To  Mendive  he  gave  the  principalship  of  a  secondary 
school  which  Azcarate  founded  at  his  own  expense.  In 
Saturnino  Martinez,  a  youthful  poet,  Azcarate  thought 
he  had  discovered  a  genius;  but  in  spite  of  the  magnate's 

CUBA  407 

assistance  Martinez  never  became  more  than  a  weak 
disciple  of  Fornaris.*  At  a  later  date  when  Azcarate*s 
own  fortune  had  considerably  dwindled  he  still  had  suffi- 
cient influence  to  launch  a  subscription  amounting  finally 
to  ^22,000  for  the  widow  and  children  of  Dr.  Zambrana. 

Azcarate's  fortune  was  derived  from  a  very  successful 
practice  as  an  influential  lawyer  famed  for  his  oratorical 
ability.  In  politics  he  was  a  reformer  rather  than  a 
separatist.  In  1865  discontent  in  Cuba  becoming  very 
great,  the  Spanish  minister  for  the  colonies,  Antonio 
Canovas  del  Castillo,  agreed  to  listen  to  a  request  for  re- 
forms. On  this  mission  Azcarate  went  to  Spain  as  a  mem- 
ber of  the  "Junta  de  Informacion"  of  which  the  veteran 
J.  A.  Saco  was  also  a  member.  Little  came  of  these  efforts 
though  Azcarate  even  founded  at  his  own  expense  a  news- 
paper. La  Voz  del  Sigh,  to  awaken  public  opinion  in  favor 
of  reforms  in  the  conduct  of  Cuban  affairs.  In  Cuba  dis- 
content continued  to  rise  like  the  tide  till  it  broke  against 
the  bar  of  official  indifference  and  became  open  rebellion. 
Azcarate,  however,  maintained  his  attitude  as  a  reformer 
so  that  on  his  return  to  Havana  he  was  unable  to  regain 
either  his  popularity  or  his  legal  practice.  His  fortune  of 
over  a  hundred  thousand  dollars  having  been  spent  it  was 
necessary  for  him  in  his  last  years  to  earn  his  living  as  a 
government  clerk. 

One  of  the  forces  which  prepared  the  revolutionary  out-, 
break  in  Cuba  was  undoubtedly  the  type  of  education 
which  the  future  leaders  were  receiving  in  their  youth  at 
the  Colegio  de  El  Salvador.  This  school  was  opened  and 
maintained  by  a  farsighted  sagacious  man  to  whom 
education  was  a  passion,  Jose  de  la  Luz  y  Caballero  (1800-r 


62).  Opened  in  1848  for  boys  over  twelve  years  of  age, 
the  school  became  immensely  popular  among  the  Cubans 
but  not  with  the  Spanish  authorities  who  asserted  that 
the  director  "was  preparing  the  boys  for  conspiracy  and 
the  scaffold/*  Later  they  termed  Luz  "the  patriarch 
of  the  Cuban  revolution."  But  his  pupils  insisted  that 
"Don  Pepe,"  as  they  affectionately  called  their  principal, 
never  discoursed  on  politics.  His  influence  had  its  strength 
in  weekly  lessons  on  morals  which  he  gave  the  boys.  He 
preached  to  them  the  virtue  of  manly  energy,  of  firm 
resistance  to  every  form  of  oppression  and  injustice,  of 
self-sacrifice  on  the  altar  of  duty.  The  Spaniards  were 
probably  right  in  seeing  in  this  teaching  a  symbolism  not 
unlike  that  which  characterized  the  poems  of  Luaces 
when  he  sang  the  patriotism  of  Greeks  and  Poles.  At  any 
rate  the  leaders  in  the  demand  for  independence  testify 
to  the  value  of  the  training  they  received.  And  regarding 
Luz  y  Caballero  the  Cubans  declare  that,  "with  Felix 
Varela  he  created  in  philosophy  a  local  tradition  which 
is  one  of  the  constituent  elements  of  Cuban  psy- 

Jose  de  la  Luz  did  not  live  to  see  the  outbreak  of  the 
great  struggle  which  lasted  for  ten  years.  The  signal 
for  the  revolt,  since  known  as  "el  grito  de  Yara,"  was  given 
at  Yara  in  the  eastern  end  of  the  island  by  a  wealthy 
planter,  Carlos  Manuel  de  Cespedes  (1819-74),  on  Octo- 
ber loth,  1868.  His  demands  were  for  a  recognition  by 
Spain  of  equal  rights  for  Creoles  and  peninsulars,  the 
abolition  of  slavery  with  compensation  for  owners  and 
the  grant  of  universal  suffrage.  Long  before  the  end  of  the 
war  Cespedes  was  killed.     In  1878  hostilities  were  ter- 



minated  by  a  grant  of  general  amnesty  and  a  promise  of  a 
large  measure  of  reforms  in  an  agreement  called  the  "pacto 
de  Zanjon." 

The  poet  of  this  revolution,  one  QJJthe  foremost  Cuban 
lyrists,  was  Juan  Clemente  Zenea  (1832-71).  Not  only 
did  he  supply  the  symbolic  poem  suggesting  the  condition 
of  Cuba  but  for  his  active  participation  in  affairs  he  was 
unjustly  executed.  The  pathetic  verses  written  during 
his  imprisonment  and  published  after  his  death  became  a 
monument  to  his  memory. 

Zenea  was  bom  in  Bayamo,  the  son  of  a  native  Cuban 
officer  in  the  Spanish  army,  and  Celestina  Fornaris,  older 
sister  of  the  poet  who  sang  the  aboriginal  Siboneyes. 
He  was  educated  in  that  hotbed  of  conspiracy,  the  school 
directed  by  Jose  de  la  Luz.  At  seventeen  he  began  to 
write  for  the  newspapers  of  Havana  under  the  pen  name 
of  "Adolfo  de  la  Azucena."  At  twenty  he  emigrated  in 
haste  because  he  was  implicated  in  the  publication  of  a 
revolutionary  journal  which  the  authorities  saw  fit  to 
suppress.  After  arriving  in  New  York  he  continued  to 
write  seditious  articles.  The  impetuous  youth  sent  one  of 
these  with  his  personal  compliments  to  the  Captain  Gen- 
eral of  Cuba,  "thus  insulting  in  the  person  of  this  au- 
thority the  whole  Spanish  nation,"  according  to  the  words 
of  the  decree  of  the  council  of  war  in  Havana  which  on 
December  6th,  1853,  condemned  Zenea  to  death.  Such 
a  decree  had  probably  for  its  real  purpose  the  discourage- 
ment of  the  Cuban  revolutionary  junta  then  active  in  the 
United  States.  Two  years  later  under  the  terms  of  the 
amnesty  proclaimed  by  the  new  governor  of  Cuba,  Zenea 
returned  to  Havana.     Here  he  began  to  support  himself 


by  private  teaching  of  French  and  EngHsh  and  by  occa- 
sional journalistic  work  in  prose  and  verse. 

In  i860  he  put  forth  a  modest  collection  of  his  poems 
in  a  volume  with  the  title,  Cantos  de  la  Tarde.  The  open- 
ing poem,  Fidelia,  immediately  sprang  into  such  popu- 
larity that  the  name  became  almost  a  sobriquet  of  the 
author.  Curiosity  as  to  whether  the  incidents  constituted 
a  real  love  story  or  an  allegory  lent  it  additional  interest. 
A  legend  sprang  up  in  Havana  that  "Fidelia"  was  a 
personification  of  Cuba.  But  there  exists  in  Zenea*s 
prose  writings  a  passage  that  seems  to  contradict  such  an 
idea,  at  least  in  so  far  as  it  was  his  conscious  purpose  to 
write  an  allegory.  The  poem  served,  however,  as  a  sym- 
bolic and  pathetic  picture  of  Cuba  to  those  patriots  who 
chose  to  regard  it  in  that  light. 

Very  tenderly,  in  a  manner  reminiscent  of  De  Musset, 
the  poem  opens  with  a  relation  of  the  vow  which  the  poet 
and  Fidelia  made  to  love  each  other  forever.  Circum- 
stances separated  them  and  he  departed  to  foreign  lands. 
Returning  after  ten  years  he  found  Fidelia  a  corpse.  From 
the  first  hint  of  disaster  which  the  refrain, 

Yo  estoy  triste  y  tu  estas  muerta! 

introduces  into  the  first  love  scene,  the  pathetic  note 
swells  to  a  finale  of  despairing  melancholy. 

The  other  poems  in  the  Cantos  de  la  Tarde  are  written 
with  the  same  elegiac  tone  though  not  with  the  same  per- 
fection of  form.  As  Rafael  Merchan  says,  "they  are  the 
echo  as  much  of  his  own  heart  as  of  the  distress  of  the 

In  1865  Zenea  again  went  to  New  York  to  engage  in 

CUBA  411 

a  business  enterprise.  That  failing,  he  departed  foi 
Mexico  where  he  wrote  for  the  daily  papers.  Hearing 
in  1868  of  the  outbreak  of  the  insurrection  under  Cespedes 
the  ardent  patriot  hastened  to  New  York  to  join  the  liter- 
ary forces  of  the  newly  proclaimed  Republic  of  Cuba  and 
became  an  editor  of  La  Revolucion.  In  1870  the  Spanish 
minister  was  induced  to  make  secret  overtures  to  President 
Cespedes  who  was  then  successfully  maintaining  his 
forces  against  the  attacks  of  the  Spanish  soldiers.  Zenea 
against  the  advice  of  his  friends  volunteered  to  be  the 
bearer  of  the  message  because  he  placed  confidence  in  a 
safe-conduct  given  him  by  the  Spanish  minister  in  Wash- 
ington. He  landed  safely,  visited  Cespedes,  and  had  re- 
turned to  the  coast  when  he  was  surprised  by  a  Spanish 
patrol.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  safe-conduct,  the  mes- 
sages and  a  sum  of  money  in  gold  in  his  possession,  he 
would  have  been  immediately  executed.  However,  he 
was  sent  to  Havana  where  he  was  placed  in  the  fortress 
la  Cabana.  When  news  of  his  confinement  reached  Madrid 
an  order  to  release  him  was  telegraphed  to  the  Captain 
General,  Conde  de  Valmaseda.  That  official,  alleging 
incriminating  circumstances,  paid  no  heed  to  the  order. 
Moreover,  he  protracted  the  investigations  for  eight 
months  until  a  crisis  in  the  Spanish  ministry  occurred. 
Then  a  hastily  conducted  court-martial  condemned  Zenea 
to  death.  He  was  executed  August  25,  1871.  This  bar- 
barous deed  of  Valmaseda's  cost  Spain  twenty-five  thou- 
sand dollars  in  indemnity  to  Zenea's  widow. 

In  the  edition  of  Zenea's  poems  which  his  boyhood 
friend,  Enrique  Pineyro,  brought  out  in  New  York,  the 
editor  grouped  four  compositions  under  the  heading  En 


Dias  de  Esclavitud.  He  considered  them  to  offer  an  adt 
quate  idea  of  the  man,  the  poet,  and  the  patriot.  The 
first  part  reveals  Zenea's  feehngs  upon  leaving  Havana, 
in  1865,  where  conditions  made  life  unbearable.  The 
second  part,  composed  of  earlier  poems  with  the  title 
Nocturno  resembles  in  its  pessimistic  note  his  model  De 
Musset.  Then  comes  the  beautiful  hymn  to  the  ocean 
which  vies  with,  if  it  does  not  surpass,  Heredia's.  Zenea 
emphasizes  the  long  period  of  time  in  which  no  ship  sailed 
over  the  surface  of  the  ocean  and  then  demands  why  it 
did  not  pour  forth  its  anger  and  drag  into  its  depths  the 
first  Spanish  caravels.  The  final  section,  written  during 
the  voyage  to  New  York,  terminates  with  a  vision  of  a 
free  Cuba  when  "a  victorious  people  salutes  the  flag  with 
the  single  star." 

After  Zenea's  execution  there  were  published  in  Madrid 
the  poems  which  he  wrote  in  prison.  Composed  to  while 
away  the  tedium  of  existence  they  form  a  remarkable 
human  document,  a  record  of  trifling  events  as  they 
affected  a  sensitive  mind.  The  title  of  the  first  poem. 
El  75  de  enero  en  mi  prision,  refers  to  the  anniversary  of 
his  marriage,  formerly  such  a  happy  day  but  now,  just 
as  the  storm  overtakes  the  mariner  sailing  smoothly  along, 
so  disaster  has  come  upon  him  and  his  family.  The  place 
of  his  confinement  was  open  on  one  side  to  the  sky  so  that 
one  day  he  was  able  to  see  a  swallow  as  it  flitted  back  and 
forth.  To  the  swallow  then  he  committed  a  message  to 
his  wife  and  daughter  with  the  wish  that  he  too  might  fly 

His  thoughts  recurred  so  often  to  his  daughter  Piedad, 
that  not  only  did  he  inscribe  her  name  in  several  places 

CUBA  413 

on  the  walls  of  his  cell  but  he  mentioned  her  in  a  majority 
of  these  dozen  poems.  One  day  he  recollects  the  story 
books  which  she  used  to  read.  Another  day  he  promises 
that,  if  anybody  will  have  pity  on  his  poor  orphan  child, 
he  will  come  from  his  tomb  and  thank  him.  Again  he 
explains  to  his  wife  why  he  did  not  say  good-bye  to  the 
child  when  he  left  home;  so  he  requests  her  to  tell  the 
little  girl  that  he  had  gone  away  thus  for  the  sake  of  not 
seeing  her  cry,  but  later  he  would  embrace  her  in  heaven. 

His  wife  Zenea  addresses  more  directly  in  poems  which 
concern  the  happiness  of  former  days.  One  evening  a  ray 
of  moonlight  straggled  into  his  cell.  He  remembers 
wandering  with  his  adored  and  listening  with  her  on 
many  similar  nights  to  the  song  of  the  nightingale  without 
a  presentiment  of  such  dreadful  change.  Another  evening 
echoes  of  a  woman's  voice  singing  in  the  apartments  of 
the  prison  commander  floated  to  his  ears.  He  knows  that 
song.  "Do  you  remember,"  he  asks  his  wife,  "how  once 
at  the  piano  you  told  me  in  the  same  words  the  mysteries 
of  the  soul?"  Finally  he  bids  his  wife  meet  him  in  heaven. 
"Do  not  forget  me!"  he  cries;  and  he  warns  her  that  if 
she  fails  to  pray  God  for  his  soul,  his  ghost  will  return  to 
beseech  her  not  to  forget  him  but  to  remember  him  night 
and  day. 

The  ablest  journalistic  champion  of  the  revolution  of 
1868  was  Rafael  Merchan  (1844-1905).  From  an  article 
of  his  with  the  caption  Laboremus  was  derived  the  name 
"laborante"  commonly  applied,  at  first  by  the  Spaniards, 
to  the  Cuban  revolutionaries.  In  Cuba  a  "comite  labor- 
ante"  directed  the  affairs  of  the  revolution.  In  the  United 
States  a  "sociedad  de  laborantes  cubanos"  was  organized 


in  many  cities.  Periodicals  entitled  El  Lahorante  came 
into  existence  in  Cuba  and  Santo  Domingo.  And  a  defense 
of  the  insurrectionists  in  the  form  of  a  novel  was  published 
in  1872  with  the  title  Escenas  de  la  Revolucion  de  Cuba: 
Los  Laborantes  by  "H.  Goodman."  Its  author  who  thus 
concealed  his  name  is  unknown. 

Merchan,  under  sentence  of  death  by  the  Spanish 
authorities,  found  refuge  in  New  York  where  he  edited  the 
journal  La  Revolucion  in  187 1.  In  the  same  year  he  put 
forth  an  important  pamphlet  on  the  situation,  La  Honra 
de  Espana  en  Cuba.  Three  years  later  he  was  invited  to  go 
to  Colombia,  his  father's  birthplace,  to  act  as  secretary  of 
a  railroad  company.  In  Bogota  he  continued  to  live  for 
many  years  and  became  a  prominent  figure  there  in  the 
world  of  letters.  His  critical  articles  on  literature,  his 
prose  version  of  Longfellow's  Evangeline^  and  his  poems 
of  a  metaphysical  character  made  his  name  widely  known. 
Nor  did  he  forget  his  beloved  Cuba,  for  he  strove  con- 
stantly with  his  pen  to  influence  in  her  favor  the  public 
opinion  of  the  rest  of  Spanish  America. 

In  1890  when  the  Cuban  question  was  again  becoming 
acute  even  the  leading  Spanish  review,  Espana  Moderna, 
opened  its  pages  to  Merchants  articles.  His  point  of  view 
that  "we  make  war  because  we  desire  to  be  independent, 
not  because  we  hate  Spaniards"  seemed  at  least  reasonable 
to  open-minded  men  in  Spain.  When  the  revolution  came 
in  1895,  Merchan  wrote  several  pamphlets  in  justification 
of  the  Cuban  cause  which  were  translated  and  published 
in  London  and  New  York  for  the  purpose  of  influencing 
public  opinion. 

When  independence  was  won  the  Cuban  Republic  re- 



membered  Merchants  services  by  sending  him  as  her 
ambassador  to  France  and  Spain  in  1902.  Unfortunately 
his  health,  undermined  by  hard  work,  was  unequal  to  the 
strain  and  he  had  to  come  home  to  die  after  a  short  period. 
Cuba  provided  his  widow  with  a  pension. 

Another  literary  champion  of  the  revolution  was  En- 
rique Pineyro  (1839-1911).  In  his  school  days  he  was 
a  favorite  pupil  of  Luz  y  Caballero  who  had  such  faith 
in  his  ability  that  he  left  him  money  by  will  to  enable 
him  to  pursue  his  studies  in  Europe.  And  it  has  been  said 
that  for  his  complete  assimilation  of  the  spirit  of  that 
educator  Pineyro  has  a  right  to  be  considered  as  the 
typical  pupil,  the  glory  of  his  school. 

Pineyro*s  reputation  in  the  future  will  rest  on  his  many 
excellent  essays  in  literary  history,  but  as  a  revolutionary 
his  activity  consisted  in  the  practice  of  delivering  lectures 
to  groups  of  Cuban  refugees.  To  the  Revista  cubana  he 
contributed  articles  combining  literary  history  with  bi- 
ography from  which  the  reader  could  derive  by  the  in- 
spiration of  example  fresh  determination  and  patriotic 

His  most  important  work  of  this  sort  was  a  biographical 
account  of  Jose  Morales  Lemus  (1808-70).  This  man 
established,  1863,  in  Havana  a  newspaper,  El  Siglo,  which 
espoused  the  cause  of  reforms  in  Cuba.  A  reform  party 
very  soon  sprung  up  to  which  the  Spanish  government 
paid  enough  heed  to  call  a  conference  with  representative 
Cubans,  since  known  as  the  "junta  de  informacion.'* 
Morales  Lemus,  Azcarate  and  the  venerable  Saco  were 
elected  among  others  as  members  of  the  junta  to  speak  for 
the  island.     As  nothing  came  of  these  efforts  Morales 


Lemus  returned  to  Cuba  greatly  disappointed.  Instead 
of  reforms  the  Spanish  government  levied  a  new  and  heavy 
income  tax  which  increased  the  discontent.  The  con- 
spiracies and  uprisings  in  Spain  itself  possibly  acted  by 
suggestion  in  1868  to  start  the  flame  in  Cuba.  Morales 
Lemus  left  the  island  to  take  up  his  residence  in  New  York 
and  Washington.  When  the  Cuban  insurrectionists  estab- 
lished a  provisional  government,  their  president,  Cespedes, 
appointed  Morales  Lemus  envoy  plenipotentiary  to  the 
new  American  administration  of  General  Grant.  American 
public  opinion  was  so  favorably  inclined  toward  Cuban 
aspirations  for  independence  that  the  House  of  Represent- 
atives passed  a  resolution  recognizing  the  Cuban  rebels 
as  belligerents.  In  the  summer  of  1869  President  Grant 
appointed  Daniel  E.  Sickles  a  special  commissioner  to 
Spain  to  propose  a  plan,  which  Morales  Lemus  had  had 
a  part  in  formulating,  to  the  effect  that  Spain  should  grant 
Cuba  independence  in  return  for  a  large  indemnity  to  be 
paid  by  Cuba  under  the  guarantee  of  the  United  States. 
The  Spanish  government,  however,  was  able  to  protract 
the  diplomatic  maneuvers  until  the  matter  fell  through. 
Moreover,  Morales  Lemus'  special  friend  in  Grant's  cab- 
inet, General  Rawlins,  Secretary  of  War,  died  in  Septem- 
ber. Hamilton  Fish,  Secretary  of  State,  was  afraid  of 
possible  hostilities  with  Spain  and  paid  no  further  atten- 
tion to  the  Cuban  envoy,  and  in  June  of  the  following 
year  Morales  Lemus  died. 

The  spiritual  aid  of  such  biographies  as  this  appears  to 
have  been  great.  And  the  short  biography  was  Piiieyro's 
specialty.  In  putting  before  the  Cubans  the  lives  of  their 
heroic  fellow  countrymen  and  of  other  persons  who  fought 


CUBA  417 

Spain  like  San  Martin  and  Bolivar,  he  performed  an  im-i 
portant  service  to  the  cause  of  Cuban  independence. 
During  his  later  years  he  lived  mainly  in  Paris  and  wrote 
on  topics  connected  with  literary  history,  such  as  his 
excellent  Romanticismo  en  Espana.  Whatever  Pineyro 
has  written  is  worth  reading,  not  only  for  the  scholarly 
care  for  truth  and  fullness  of  detail  which  he  displays,  but 
also  for  the  sobriety,  terseness  and  interest  of  his  style. 

The  ten  years'  war  having  been  brought  to  an  end  by  the 
pact  of  Zanjon  and  a  general  amnesty  declared  by  the 
Captain  General  Arsenio  Martinez  Campos,  peace  pre- 
vailed in  Cuba.  The  literary  production  of  the  next  few 
years  may  be  followed  in  the  Revista  de  Cuba,  established 
by  Jose  Antonio  Cortina  in  1877  with  the  avowed  inten- 
tion of  "keeping  free  from  party  quarrels  and  aspiring  to 
reflect  in  its  pages  the  intellectual  movement  of  this 
island."  Though  Cortina  was  a  patriot  who  had  suflFered 
imprisonment  in  1869  for  printing  an  address  by  Antonio 
Bachiller  y  Morales,  he  rightly  concluded  that  the  time 
was  a  period  for  recuperation.  In  his  review  consequently 
appeared  nothing  which  reflected  on  Spanish  rule.  As 
Cortina  was  a  man  of  literary  good  taste  the  influence 
which  he  exercised  on  the  contributors  who  met  at  evening 
for  the  reading  and  discussion  of  prospective  articles  and 
poems  was  pronounced. 

The  poetry  at  this  time,  as  generally  in  the  Spanish- 
speaking  world,  was  influenced  by  the  Germanistic  spirit. 
In  Cuba  the  brothers  Antonio  Sellen  (1840-88)  and  Fran- 
cisco Sellen  (183  8- 1907)  wrote  a  multitude  of  verses  both 
original  and  translations.  Francisco  Sellen  had  been  sent 
by  the  Spanish  authorities  to  Spain  as  a  prisoner  for  taking 


part  in  the  insurrection.  He  escaped  from  prison,  however, 
and  found  refuge  for  a  while  in  Germany.  When  he  re- 
turned to  America  he  brought  with  him  translations  of  Ger- 
man poets  which  he  published  as  Ecos  del  Rin.  Later  he 
made  metrical  translations  of  such  diverse  works  as 
Goethe's  Faust,  Heine's  Intermezzo  lirico  and  Byron's 
GiaouTy  of  which  the  last  two  appeared  in  the  Revista 
Cubana.  His  numerous  original  poems  evinced  a  love  of 
tropic  nature  with  a  strain  of  pessimism  toward  life  which 
rang  true  in  certain  patriotic  lines.  His  greatest  effort 
was  Hatuey,  a.  dramatic  poem  vying  with  Fomaris'  Cantos 
de  Siboney  in  depicting  aboriginal  life.  For  a  time  Fran- 
cisco Sellen's  copiousness  made  him  the  leading  Cuban 
poet,  but  his  popularity  soon  suffered  eclipse. 

The  special  form  of  poem  known  by  the  German  name 
of  "lied,"  which  had  been  introduced  into  Spanish  liter- 
ature through  imitation  of  Heine  and  Gustavo  Becquer, 
\  appealed  to  Cuban  poets  and  was  successfully  practiced 
Iby  a  group  of  young  men  composed  of  Esteban  Borrero 
Echeverria,  Jose  Varela,  Aurelio  Mityans,  Diego  Vicente 
Tejera,  and  Enrique  J.  Varona.  They  took  full  advantage 
of  the  fact  that  the  anecdotal  character  of  the  lied  lent 
itself  to  the  presentation  of  stirring  tales  from  revolution- 
ary history. 

Aurelio  Mityans  (1863-89)  as  a  measure  of  precaution 
concealed  his  identity  by  signing  his  pictures  of  pitiable 
sufferings  from  Spanish  outrages  "El  Camagueyano." 
As  a  student  of  Cuban  literature  he  had  in  preparation 
at  the  time  of  his  premature  death  a  book  which  his 
friends  published  in  spite  of  its  fragmentary  condition  as 
Estudio  sabre  el  movimiento  cientifico  y  liter ario  de  Cuba,  1 890. 

CUBA  419 

Diego  Vicente  Tejera  (i 848-1903)  excelled  in  rendering 
the  tropical  Cuban  landscape  flooded  with  sunlight, 
suggestive  of  the  noonday  siesta  in  the  shade  of  a  rustic 
hut.  His  best  descriptive  pieces,  En  la  Hamaca  and  El 
Despertar  de  Cuba,  were  written  as  memt)ries  of  home  during 
his  campaigning  in  Venezuela  with  the  /)arty  in  rebellion 
against  Guzman  Blanco.  His  love  lyrics  in  imitation  of 
Heine  to  the  collection  of  which  he  gave  the  name  Un 
Ramo  de  Violetas,  were  printed  in  1878.  His  original 
"lieder,"  narratives  in  rhyme,  were  intended  to  inspire 
sympathy  for  those  Cubans  who  fought  against  Spanish 
authority.  He  translated  the  verses  of  a  Hungarian  poet 
with  the  title  of  Cuentos  Madgiares  because  the  conditions 
of  the  Hungarian  rebels  described  in  them  applied  to  Cuba. 
In  other  poems,  La  Muerte  de  Pldcido,  Al  Ideal  de  la 
Independencia  de  Cuba,  La  Estrella  solitaria,  the  patriotic 
appeal  was  more  direct,  and  reached  a  climax  in  Esperando, 
1890.  In  this  poem  beginning  "Yacen  alli  .  .  ."  the  dead 
who  have  already  given  their  lives  for  Cuban  independence 
are  represented  as  lying  impatient  in  their  graves,  im- 
patient to  hear  the  echoes  of  a  new  struggle  and  the  trium- 
phant cheers  of  a  people  who  have  won  their  freedom. 

At  the  time  of  the  revolution  of  1895  Tejera  was  active 
among  the  Cuban  refugees  in  the  United  States  trying  to 
organize  a  socialist  party.  The  failure  of  this  eff^ort  cut 
him  oflF  from  the  group  of  men  who  led  the  revolution  and 
the  reward  which  its  success  brought  to  men  like  his  former 
associate  Enrique  Jose  Varona  (b.  1849)  vice-president  of 
the  Cuban  Republic,  191 2-16. 

Enrique-Jose  Varona's  most  important  poems  were 
printed  1879  in  a  volume  whose  title,  Paisajes  cubanos,  is 


descriptive  of  the  nature  of  the  contents.  The  poems 
range  in  character  from  the  poetic  narration  of  episodes 
in  the  ten  years'  war  to  symbolistic  lines  on  Cuba.  Dos 
Voces  en  la  Sombra,  for  example,  is  a  dialogue  between  the 
poet  and  the  soul  of  Cuba.  Bajo  la  Capa  del  Cielo  and 
£1  Tango  are  filled  with  patriotic  and  nationalistic  inspira- 
tion. After  1880  verse  writing  occupied  but  little  of  his 
attention.  On  the  other  hand,  the  name  of  Enrique  Jose 
Varona  has  been  associated  during  his  time  with  almost 
every  intellectual  movement  in  Cuba. 

First  of  all  as  a  teacher  of  philosophy,  interpreting  the 
system  of  Herbert  Spencer  to  the  Cuban  people,  he  con- 
tinued the  intellectual  tradition  of  Varela  and  Luz.  Like 
them  he  made  use  of  his  philosophical  teaching  to  in- 
culcate in  his  pupils  a  desire  for  freedom.  When  after  the 
death  of  J.  A.  Cortina  he  became  the  editor  of  the  review 
to  which  he  had  so  often  contributed  he  found  ample 
opportunity  for  his  peculiar  form  of  separatist  propaganda. 

Varona  signalized  his  assumption  of  the  editorship  of 
the  review,  1885,  by  changing  its  name  to  Revista  Cuhana. 
The  first  number  announced  that  it  would  "be  merely  the 
continuation  of  the  Revista  de  Cuba.  To  present  a  picture 
as  faithful  as  possible  of  the  state  of  our  culture,  offering 
a  neutral  field  to  all  opinions  in  order  to  keep  alive  Cuban 
sentiment  against  the  discouragements  of  the  present 
moment,  is  the  first  of  its  objects."  The  emphasis  was 
laid  more  and  more  on  the  part  of  this  program  referring 
to  the  keeping  alive  of  Cuban  sentiment. 

Varona's  method  of  fostering  nationalistic  sentiment  is 
well  illustrated  by  an  oration  which  he  delivered  and  re- 
printed in  the  review,  on  such  an  unsuggestive  topic  as 

CUBA  421 

El  Poeta  anonimo  de  la  Polonia.  To  his  audience  the 
description  of  Poland  was  a  picture  of  suffering  Cuba. 
With  similar  purpose  he  printed  a  remarkable  article, 
El  Bandolerismo  en  Cuba,  attempting  to  prove  that  crime 
scarcely  existed  among  the  native  population  of  Cuba  but 
was  confined  to  persons  of  Spanish  birth.  In  1891  he 
published  a  volume  entitled  Articulos  y  Discursos  which 
for  the  character  of  its  contents  was  almost  the  program 
of  a  revolutionary  party.  Each  article  treated  some  idea 
connected  with  the  political  or  economic  situation  in  Cuba. 
Four  years  later  broke  out  the  final  and  successful  Cuban 
revolution  which  solved  these  problems  in  the  manner 
hinted  by  Varona,  namely,  by  independence. 

Before  the  actual  outbreak  the  Revista  Cuhana  was 
obliged  to  suspend  publication.  Its  utterances  became 
bolder  and  bolder  so  that  finally  one  number  was  seized 
and  suppressed  by  the  authorities.  Varona  found  it 
advisable  to  seek  refuge  in  New  York.  There  he  became 
an  invaluable  member  of  the  literary  cohorts  fighting  for 
Cuban  independence  by  his  editing  of  the  journal  La 
Patria,  by  his  addresses  to  Cuban  refugees,  and  by  rev- 
olutionary tracts.  One  of  the  latter  translated  into 
English,  Cuba  against  Spain,  was  widely  circulated.  It  was 
a  terrible  arraignment  supported  by  facts  and  figures  of 
the  frauds  and  thefts  committed  by  the  Spanish  bureau- 
cracy in  the  administration  of  insular  affairs.  In  addition 
he  showed  that  the  system  of  voting  introduced  as  a  sup- 
posed reform  after  the  pact  of  Zanjon  was  such  a  farce 
that  only  Spaniards  or  known  Spanish  sympathizers  were 
allowed  to  vote. 

After  the  Spaniards  withdrew  from  Cuba,  Varona  was 


appointed  Secretary  of  Public  Instruction  during  the  first 
North  American  intervention.  Then  followed  a  period 
in  which  he  took  no  part  in  politics.  This  was  marked 
by  the  publication  of  books  on  philosophy  made  up  of 
lectures  previously  delivered  and  of  a  collection  of  essays 
on  literature,  Desde  mi  Belvedere.  At  the  time  of  the 
second  North  American  intervention  he  became  a  leader 
of  the  conservative  party  and  in  191 2  was  elected  Vice- 
president  of  the  Republic  of  Cuba,  a  fitting  honor  for  one 
who  had  devoted  so  much  of  his  youthful  energies  to  its 

During  Varona*s  editorship  of  the  Revista  Cuhana^ 
many  writers  assisted  him  in  carrying  out  his  policies. 
One  of  the  oldest  men  enlisted  was  Antonio  Bachiller  y 
Morales  (1812-89).  He  was  one  of  those  natural  scholars 
whose  learning  increases  with  their  years,  and  who  retain 
their  mental  vigor  to  the  end.  Due  to  the  universality 
of  his  studies  his  published  essays  embrace  almost  every 
field.  He  even  began  his  career  with  a  few  verses  like  the 
other  students  who  came  under  Del  Monte's  influence. 
As  a  professor  in  the  university,  however,  his  intellectual 
interests  led  him  away  from  poetry.  His  most  important 
work  will  always  be  considered  the  Apuntes  para  la  His- 
toria  de  las  Letras  en  Cuba,  which  is  quite  as  much  a  his- 
tory of  education  in  Cuba  as  of  the  production  of  litera^ 
ture.  During  the  ten  years'  war  he  was  obliged  for  his 
journalistic  activity  to  emigrate  to  New  York.  His  most 
valuable  work  there  was  an  edition  of  Heredia's  poems. 

It  was  by  articles  on  Heredia,  on  Placido,  on  Cuban 
literature  in  general,  with  special  emphasis  on  features 
antagonistic  to  Spanish   rule,  that  the  Revista  Cubana 

CUBA  423 

maintained  its  policy  of  cherishing  a  nationalistic  Cuban 
sentiment.  As  time  went  on  its  articles  became  more 
directly  political  in  character,  such  as  a  discussion  of  the 
aspirations  of  the  Cuban  liberal  party  by  F.  A.  Conte,  a 
history  of  the  filibustering  expedition  of  Narciso  Lopez 
with  all  its  revolutionary  implications  by  the  Conde  de 
Pozos  Dulces,  the  chapters  from  Saco's  Historia  de  la 
Esclavitud  which  dealt  with  the  iniquities  of  the  slave 
trade  in  Cuba.  Enrique  Pineyro  contributed  a  sketch  of 
the  history  of  the  United  States  during  the  struggles  over 
the  slavery  question  and  the  campaign  resulting  in  the 
election  of  Abraham  Lincoln.  The  review  of  books  such 
as  the  biographies  of  Felix  Varela  and  of  Jose  de  la  Luz 
by  Jose  Ignacio  Rodriguez  offered  another  opportunity 
for  the  preaching  of  the  Cuban  ideal. 

Books  began  to  reinforce  the  revolutionary  propaganda. 
Almost  epoch-making  was  A  pie  y  descalzo,  1890,  by 
Ramon  Roa,  the  record  of  a  journey  which  the  author 
had  made  through  the  regions  devastated  by  the  military 
operations  of  the  Spaniards  during  the  early  years  of  the 
ten  years'  war.  As  the  author  had  been  a  lieutenant 
colonel  and  adjutant  secretary  to  Generals  Ignacio  Agra- 
monte  and  Maximo  Gomez  he  could  unfold  tales  of  desti- 
tution and  distress  well  calculated  to  harrow  up  the  soul 
of  his  readers.  With  the  same  object  was  written  Epi- 
sodios  de  la  RevoluciSn  cubana,  by  Manuel  de  la  Cruz 
(1861-96),  and  his  Cromitos  Cubanos,  short  sketches  of 
prominent  fellow  countrymen.  He  contributed  articles 
also  to  the  Revista  Cubana.  Likewise  Ram6n  Meza  wrote 
articles  on  literature  and  published  books.  These  were 
novels  picturing  social  conditions,  Mi  Tio  el  Empleado 


and  D.  Aniceto  el  Tendero.    To  Meza  we  are  indebted  for 
a  sympathetic  account  of  Julian  del  Casal. 

Of  all  the  contributors  to  the  Revista  Cuhana  the  edi- 
tor's right  hand  man  was  Manuel  Sanguily,  most  vigorous 
and  active.  Finally,  to  throw  off  all  restraint  he  estab- 
lished just  before  the  outbreak  of  the  revolution  of  1895, 
a  journal  with  the  innocuous  title,  Hojas  Literarias,  which 
during  its  year  of  existence  had  some  of  its  numbers  sup- 
pressed, surely  not  merely  for  discourses  on  literature. 
One  of  his  first  contributions  to  the  Revista  Cuhana  was 
Los  Oradores  de  Cuba.  The  discussion  of  each  man's 
oratorical  ability  was  a  peg  on  which  to  hang  the  account 
of  his  services  for  Cuba.  If  he  wrote  of  Heredia's  poetry, 
he  exalted  the  revolutionary  ideal.  From  Sanguily*s 
first  appearance  there  was  scarcely  a  number  of  the  re- 
view without  something  from  his  pen. 

But  all  these  brave  words  would  have  been  fruitless 
without  somebody  to  incite  men  to  action.  This  man  was 
Jose  Marti  to  whose  efforts  more  than  to  any  other  single 
individual  Cuban  independence  was  due.  To  this  object 
from  the  age  of  sixteen  he  devoted  with  a  fervor  rarely 
equaled  in  any  cause,  both  his  life  and  a  gift  of  speech 
seldom  given  to  mortals.  Whatever  other  title  may  be 
conferred  on  him  there  is  one  uniquely  his,  the  "Apostle" 
of  Cuban  independence. 

f  Jose  Marti  (1853-95),  was  the  son  of  an  officer  of  ar- 
tillery in  the  Spanish  army.  He  attended  the  school  of 
which  the  poet  Mendive  was  the  principal.  From  him 
lit  is  likely  that  Marti  absorbed  some  of  his  revolutionary 
ideas,  just  as  the  spectacle  of  his  beloved  teacher  in  prison 
embittered   his   spirit.     Marti   and   another  pupil    used 

CUBA  425 

daily  to  escort  Mendive's  wife  to  the  prison  on  her  visits 
to  her  husband  before  his  deportation.  Marti  himself 
was  arrested  as  a  conspirator  at  the  age  of  sixteen  and 
deported  to  Spain,  but  he  was  permitted  to  study  law  / 
during  his  five  years'  sojourn.  In  1873  he  went  to  Mexico 
where  he  married.  In  1878,  he  returned  to  Cuba  osten- 
sibly to  practice  law  but  in  reality  to  engage  in  conspiracy 
which  developed  into  the  brief  period  of  hostilities  known 
as  the  "guerra  chiquita."  Marti  was  arrested  and  again 
deported  to  Spain.  He  escaped,  however,  to  France, 
from  where  by  way  of  New  York  he  went  to  Venezuela, 
but  by  1 88 1  he  was  back  in  New  York.  For  the  next 
eight  years  he  earned  his  living  by  work  at  various  Spanish- 
American  consulates,  by  articles  for  La  Nacion  of  Buenos 
Aires  and  criticisms  on  art  for  the  New  York  Sun.  He 
even  published  two  little  volumes  of  poems,  one,  Ismaelilloy 
the  out-pourings  of  a  father's  heart  in  joy  over  his  son, 
the  other.  Versos  Sencillos,  a  collection  of  love  lyrics.  In 
1889  at  a  banquet  of  Spanish  Americans  he  made  a  speech 
which  he  terminated  with  this  peroration:  "Those  who  # 
have  a  country,  let  them  honor  it;  those  who  have  not,  / 
let  them  conquer  one." 

The  press  report  of  this  speech  was  such  that  the 
Spanish  government  protested  to  the  Argentine  Republic 
against  Marti's  employment  at  her  consulship.  From 
that  hour  Marti  was  free  to  devote  his  whole  time  to  the 
propaganda  against  Spain.  He  became  the  "Apostle" 
preaching  Cuban  independence  to  Cubans,  wherever  he 
could  find  an  audience.  He  went  to  Florida  to  work 
among  the  colonies  of  refugees  in  the  cigar  factories  of 
Key  West  and  Tampa.    Everywhere  among  the  working- 


men  he  received  an  enthusiastic  welcome,  and  at  his  sug- 
gestion the  organization  of  revolutionary  clubs  went  on 
apace.  In  1892  Marti  definitely  launched  the  "Partido 
Revolucionario  Cubano"  with  a  program  expressed  in 
writing  so  that  its  purposes  could  be  positively  known  and 
open  to  discussion.  Among  the  more  well-to-do  Cubans 
Marti  had  to  overcome  much  opposition,  which  was 
summed  up  in  the  sarcasm,  "Mas  machetes!  Pobre 

But  the  enrollment  of  volunteers  and  the  collections 
of  money  and  arms  continued  to  increase.  It  was  neces- 
sary to  find  military  leaders.  He  sought  out  the  veteran 
generals  Cebreco,  Maceo,  and  Maximo  Gomez  and  se- 
cured the  promise  of  their  support.  Marti's  description 
of  his  visit  to  the  latter's  home  in  Santo  Domingo  where 
he  was  comfortably  living  with  his  family  on  an  estate 
in  the  country  is  one  of  the  finest  things  from  his  pen. 
Finally  on  February  24,  1895,  the  cry  of  revolution  was 
raised  in  the  province  of  Santiago.  In  April,  Marti  and 
Maximo  Gomez  landed  in  Cuba.  A  month  later  Marti, 
who  was  now  considered  the  president  of  the  new  Cuban 
republic,  set  out  to  leave  the  island.  With  a  small  escort 
he  was  surprised  by  a  detachment  of  Spanish  soldiers, 
and  fell  mortally  wounded  at  the  first  discharge.  This 
occurred  at  a  locality  known  as  Boca  de  Dos  Rios,  on 
May  19th,  1895.  The  work  for  which  Marti  had  given 
his  life  resulted  in  the  emancipation  of  Cuba  from  Spanish 

Martfs  literary  work  has  been  published  in  several 
volumes  by  his  friend,  Gonzalo  de  Quesada.  It  consists 
mjainly  of  speeches  and  articles  written  for  various  papers. 

CUBA  427 

Its  value  lies  in  the  remarkable  qualities  of  his  style.  He 
possessed  the  secret  of  contrast  with  the  expert  journal- 
ist*s  ability  to  select  details  with  dramatic  value  and  the 
artist's  eye  for  color  and  harmony.  If  one  wishes  to 
know,  for  example,  what  the  streets  and  parades  in  New 
York  were  like  at  the  time  of  the  formal  acceptance  of 
Bartholdi's  statue  of  liberty,  he  should  read  Marti's  ac- 
count sent  to  La  Nacion  of  Buenos  Aires.  It  would  lose 
little  in  translation,  for  its  vivid  picturesqueness  is  based 
on  fact.  On  the  other  hand,  the  fluent  rhythm  of  his 
speeches  can  hardly  be  rendered  in  translation.  At  times 
he  speaks  in  metaphors  which  are  difficult  to  follow  on 
account  of  their  depth  of  thought.  Rarely,  however, 
does  he  fall  into  the  merely  flowery  eloquence  which  is 
so  characteristic  of  many  Spanish  Americans.  His 
tremendous  earnestness  and  dignity  are  always  apparent. 
In  these  respects  the  introductory  paragraph  of  his  pref- 
ace to  Perez  Bonalde's  poem  on  Niagara  ^  is  a  charac- 
teristic gem  from  Marti's  tongue. 

The  man's  wonderful  talent  has  nowhere  been  more 
vividly  described  than  in  this  statement  by  Diego  V. 
Tejera:  "He  who  has  never  heard  Marti  in  a  moment  of 
confidential  intimacy  does  not  realize  the  full  power  of 
the  fascination  of  which  human  speech  is  capable." 

Of  the  two  movements  which  have  aflPected  the  liter- 
atures of  all  countries  at  the  end  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
the  modernista  development  in  poetry  and  the  vogue  of 
the  naturalistic  novel  Cuba  took  but  small  share  on  ac- 
count of  the  absorption  of  her  sons  in  political  interests. 
However,  it  must  not  be  forgotten  that  in  Julian  die]  Casal 
^  See  page  320. 


(1863-93)  she  had  the  honor  of  giving  to  the  world  one  of 
the  most  important  precursors  of  modemista  verse. 
His  adaptation  of  certain  exotic  forms  to  the  genius  of  the 
Spanish  language  are  clearly  evident  to  the  students  of 
the  movement.  Had  Casal  lived  longer  he  might  have 
shared  with  Ruben  Dario  the  latter's  fame,  for  the  admira- 
tion of  the  two  poets  for  each  other's  work  and  their 
reciprocal  influence  is  evident. 

In  the  naturalistic  novel  Jesus  Castellanos  (i  879-191 2) 
was  just  beginning  to  show  the  possibilities  of  Cuban  life 
when  his  career  was  cut  short  by  death.  In  La  Tierra 
adentro  he  depicted  in  a  series  of  short  stories  and  sketches 
Cuban  rural  life.  But  he  reached  artistic  perfection  in  a 
tale  published  separately  from  that  collection,  La  Manigua 
Sentimental.  The  title  was  taken  from  the  Cuban  name 
given  to  the  rough  woodland  country  in  eastern  and 
central  Cuba  where  the  last  revolution  was  mainly  fought. 
Critics  agree  that  his  observations  of  life  in  that  region  at 
that  epoch  are  most  exact.  At  the  time  of  his  death 
Castellanos  was  rapidly  becoming  the  literary  leader  of 
Cuba.  His  critical  articles  on  literature  were  eagerly 
read.  In  191 2  with  the  Dominican  Max  Henriquez  Ureiia 
he  organized  La  Sociedad  de  Conferencias  which  since  then 
has  continued  to  work  for  the  furtherance  of  Cuban  lit- 
erature by  means  of  public  lectures. 

Since  the  winning  of  political  independence  Cuba's 
material  prosperity  has  grown  by  leaps  and  bounds.  There 
can  be  no  doubt  that  in  the  future  Cuba  will  maintain  her 
literary  fame.  At  present  the  periodicals  published  in  the 
island  equal  if  they  do  not  surpass  in  literary  qualities 
those  of  any  other  nation.    Take,  for  example,  the  beau- 

CUBA  429 

tifully  illustrated  Figaro,  long  conducted  by  the  poet 
Manuel  S.  Pichardo;  Cuba  y  America,  whose  purpose  is 
"the  regeneration  of  Cuban  culture,"  and  whose  editor, 
Salvador  Salazar,  is  an  enthusiastic  student  of  literature; 
or  the  scholarly  monthly  Cuba  Contempordnea,  directed 
by  Carlos  deVelasco,  which  is  doing  an  unsurpassed  service 
for  the  study  of  Cuban  literature.  The  famous  organ  of 
the  ancient  society,  Los  Amigos  del  Pais,  entitled  La 
Revista  bimestre  cubana,  has  also  been  revived. 

The  centenaries  of  certain  beloved  poets,  La  Avellaneda 
and  Milanes,  have  recently  given  opportunity  to  foster  the 
love  of  literature.  The  prize  for  the  poem  in  celebration 
of  La  Avellaneda's  birth  was  awarded  in  1914  to  Dofia 
Dulce  Maria  Borrero  de  Lujan  who  for  some  years  has 
been  Cuba's  reigning  poetess. 

Her  name  appeared  in  an  anthology,  Arpas  cubanas, 
published  in  1904,  which  in  a  certain  degree  fixes  a'  date 
for  the  regeneration  of  Cuban  verse  after  the  war  for 
independence.  The  poems  it  contained  were  those  of 
living  poets  whose  names  were  too  numerous  to  mention 
here.  The  collection  contained  also  two  sonnets  by  a  poet, 
Enrique  Hernandez  Miyares  (i 859-1914),  whose  life 
covered  the  period  of  transition  from  colonial  to  free  Cuba. 
His  first  work  appeared  in  the  Revista  cubana  and  he  was 
an  intimate  friend  of  Julian  del  Casal. 

The  two  sonnets  A  un  Machete  and  La  mas  Fermosa 
typify  the  old  and  the  new  Cuba.  The  first,  written  in 
1892  when  the  revolutionary  agitation  was  becoming 
acute,  presents  the  poet  coming  by  chance  upon  a  rusty 
machete,  which  though  it  had  spilled  Spanish  blood  in  an 
attempt  at  redemption,  was  now  lying  forgetful  of  pa- 


triotism,  idle  and  a  coward.  The  other  sonnet,  La  mas 
Fermosa,  published  in  1903,  has  been  called  the  most 
beautiful  sonnet  written  in  Cuba.  Certainly  it  voices  the 
spirit  of  determination  so  characteristic  of  Cuban  patriots 
as  well  as  the  idealization  of  the  Cuban  attitude  toward 
the  future.  j 

Keep  on,  O  knight!    With  lance  uplifted  ride, 
To  punish  every  wrong  by  righteous  deed; 
For  constancy  at  last  shall  gain  its  meed, 
And  justice  ever  with  the  law  abide. 
Mambrino's  broken  helmet  don  with  pride, 
Advance  undaunted  on  thy  glorious  steed. 
To  Sancho  Panza's  cautions  pay  no  heed, 
In  destiny  and  thy  right  arm  confide. 
At  Fortune's  coy  reserve  display  no  fear; 
For  should  the  Cavalier  of  the  White  Moon 
With  arms  *gainst  thine  in  combat  dare  appear. 
Although  by  adverse  fate  thou  art  overthrown. 
Of  Dulcinea  even  in  death's  hour  swear 
That  she  will  always  be  the  only  fair.^ 

^  Version  of  Alfred  Coester. 



Santo  Domingo  is  the  Spanish-speaking  repubHc  sit- 
uated in  the  southern  half  of  the  island  of  which  the  negro 
republic  of  Haiti,  where  French  is  spoken,  is  the  northern 
half.  Mountain  ranges  in  the  interior  form  a  natural 
barrier  between  the  two.  The  whole  island  was  named  by 
Columbus  Isla  Hispaniola  or  Spanish  Island.  The  ab- 
original name  Quisqueya  supplies  a  poetical  appellation 
to  a  region  whose  unhappy  history  is  rich  in  material  for 

Columbus  considered  this  island  the  chief  discovery  of 
his  first  voyage,  for  there  he  found  gold  in  abundance.  As 
the  natives  were  of  a  friendly  disposition  he  selected  it  as 
the  site  of  the  first  Spanish  settlement  in  the  New  World. 
But  the  record  of  the  colony  forms  a  sad  page  in  history. 
And  to  the  present  day  fate  has  evilly  treated  the  dwellers 
in  this  island  so  blessed  by  nature. 

In  1795  ^^^  possession  of  the  whole  island  passed  to  the 
French.  In  consequence  an  emigration  of  the  Spanish 
families  set  in  which  materially  increased  when  the  blacks 
in  Haiti  after  1801  were  ravaging  the  land  with  arson  and 
murder.    By  1821  the  Haytians  were  in  complete  control. 

Then  began  a  hard  struggle  by  the  Spanish  whites  to 
avoid  annihilation.  They  found  a  leader  in  Juan  Pablo 
Duarte   (1813-73).     Educated   in  Spain  he  trained  the 



people  to  resist  negro  domination  and  to  cling  to  their 
Spanish  tongue.  For  this  purpose  he  imported  and  dis- 
tributed Spanish  books.  No  less  important  was  their 
training  in  arms,  for  by  1844  the  Spanish  element  suc- 
ceeded in  freeing  themselves  and  in  setting  up  the  Domin- 
ican Republic. 

The  University  of  Santo  Domingo,  founded  in  1558,  had 
during  the  colonial  period  been  instrumental  in  maintain- 
ing in  the  colony  a  higher  degree  of  culture  than  that  which 
existed  in  the  other  Antilles.  Students  from  them  re- 
sorted to  Santo  Domingo.  Consequently  when  the 
emigration  occurred  it  carried  to  Puerto  Rico,  Cuba  and 
Venezuela  elements  which  assisted  in  raising  the  intellec- 
tual tone  in  those  countries.  The  great  Cuban  poet, 
Heredia,  and  the  patron  of  Cuban  letters,  Domingo  del 
Monte,  were  children  of  families  from  the  unhappy  isle. 
The  same  is  true  of  Narciso  Foxa  and  his  brother  Francisco 
J.  Foxa,  one  of  the  first  dramatic  poets  of  Cuba.  Francisco 
Muiioz  del  Monte  (1800-68),  cousin  of  Domingo  del 
Monte,  contributed  verses  to  the  literary  movement  of  the 
thirties  in  Cuba  which  are  worthy  of  being  remembered, 
especially  his  elegy  A  la  Muerte  de  Heredia  and  his  interest- 
ing evocation  of  the  hot  season.  El  Verano  en  la  Habana. 

The  intellectual  leader  of  the  republic  established  in 
1844  was  Felix  Maria  del  Monte  (1819-99).  His  national 
hymn  remains  as  an  echo  of  the  bitter  struggle  against  the 
Haytians.  Other  poems  of  his  likewise  were  inspired  by 
personal  experience  or  by  the  course  of  events  as  his  Arpa 
del  ProscritOy  dedicated  to  Nicolas  Ureiia  de  Mendoza 
(1822-75).  The  latter  in  the  manner  of  the  Cuban  Velez 
y  Herrera  composed  verses  in  description  of  the  life  of  the 


guajiros  of  his  native  island.  Of  the  same  age  Felix  Mota 
(1822-61),  shot  by  the  Spaniards  among  other  patriots 
who  opposed  their  reoccupation  of  Santo  Domingo,  wrote 
poems  suggestive  of  Milanes. 

The  period  of  peace  after  1844  was  too  troubled  for 
extensive  literary  production.  In  1861  Dominican  leaders 
then  in  power  thought  to  find  protection  from  the  Hay- 
tians  by  asking  Spain  for  re-annexation  as  a  colony.  Spain 
sent  a  few  regiments  of  soldiers  to  maintain  her  authority, 
but  in  1866  she  practically  abandoned  the  island  by  with- 
drawing the  soldiers.  The  Dominican  Republic  was  re- 
established, but  not  until  1873  did  political  conditions 
allow  settled  order  and  progress. 

Among  those  who  returned  to  the  island  after  the  de- 
parture of  the  Spaniards  was  Javier  Angulo  Guridi  (18 16-  X 
84),  a  former  colonel  in  the  patriot  army.  During  his  exile 
he  had  engaged  in  journalism  in  various  countries,  notably 
in  Venezuela,  where  he  appears  to  have  been  strongly  in- 
fluenced by  the  group  of  poets  finding  inspiration  in 
Indian  life.  Though  he  had  the  distinction  of  being  the 
first  Dominican  poet  to  see  his  verses  collected  in  a  volume. 
Ens  ay  OS  poeticos,  in  1843,  his  best  poems  and  prose  tales 
treat  Indian  legends,  as  his  Iguaniona  which  he  also 
arranged  as  a  drama,  in  1867. 

Tales  of  Indian  life  and  the  relations  of  the  natives  with 
the  first  settlers  became  the  popular  subjects  of  literary 
art  during  the  decade  of  the  seventies.  But  interest  in 
literature  was  made  possible  by  a  remarkable  movement 
for  education  and  culture  in  which  the  poetess  Doiia 
SalomeUrefia  (1850-97),  daughter  of  Nicolas  Ureria  de  x^ 
Mendoza  was  a  prominent  figure.     She  began  publishing 


poems  in  praise  of  the  ideals  of  peace  and  progress.  A 
society,  Los  Amigos  del  Pais,  was  founded  to  promote  the 
interests  of  the  country  along  such  lines,  and  in  1878  the 
society  presented  to  the  poetess  a  gold  medal  and  pub- 
lished an  edition  of  her  poems.  In  1880  she  married 
Francisco  Henriquez  y  Carvajal  (b.  1859).  The  same 
year  there  came  to  Santo  Domingo  one  of  the  remark- 
able thinkers  of  Spanish  America,  Eugenio  M,  Hostcs, 
who  as  principal  of  the  Escuela  Normal  introduced  into 
the  island  a  knowledge  of  modern  pedagogical  methods. 
Writing  his  own  texts  for  his  classes,  he  performed  for 
Santo  Domingo  much  the  same  service  as  Andres  Bello 
for  Chile.  Dona  Salome  Urefia  de  Henriquez  aided  the 
movement  by  founding  the  first  school  for  young  ladies, 
which  she  directed  for  many  years.  From  this  time  her 
poems  were  echoes  of  her  home  life  in  which  vibrated  the 
strong  feelings  of  wife  and  mother. 

In  the  volume  of  her  poems  printed  in  1878,  the  legend 
Anacaona,  on  an  Indian  topic,  showed  her  interest  in  the 
popular  trend  in  literature.  Her  one  rival  in  the  field  of 
poetry,  Jose  Joaquin  Perez  (i  845-1900),  vies  with  the 
Uruguayan  Zorrilla  de  San  Martin  for  the  primacy  of 
excellence  in  Spanish-American  literary  evocation  of  na- 
tive life.  His  first  poem  of  this  type,  Quisqueyana,  bears 
the  date  of  his  return  to  Santo  Domingo,  1874,  after 
years  of  exile  in  Venezuela.  Of  the  same  year  was  the 
beautiful  Vuelta  al  Hogary  an  intense  cry  of  joy  at  being 
again  in  his  native  land.  In  1877  he  published  the  volume 
entitled  Fantasias  Indigenas  to  which  Perez  mainly  owes 
his  fame.  These  were  short  narrative  poems,  perpetuat-» 
ing  the  memory  of  the  aborigines  of  Santo  Domingo,  the 


best  of  which  were  El  Voto  de  Anacaona  and  Guarionex. 
El  Junco  verde  relates  the  impression  which  was  produced 
on  Columbus  and  his  crew  by  the  sight  of  a  green  reed,  the 
first  sign  of  land.  At  the  same  time  Perez  was  deeply 
interested  in  the  movement  for  better  educational  facili- 
ties in  the  island  and  voiced  it  in  his  poem  Himno  al 
Progreso  del  Pais  written  in  the  style  of  Doiia  Salome. 
Later  when  the  modemista  manner  was  attracting  the 
young  men  of  Spanish  America,  Perez  showed  his  versa- 
tility by  adopting  it  in  Americanas^  a  series  of  poems  called 
forth  by  his  sympathy  for  the  Cubans  during  the  rebellion 

of  1895- 

In  prose  the  interest  in  Dominican  life  and  history 
produced  Bani  0  Engracia  y  Antoiiita,  a  story  full  of  in- 
tense local  color  by  Francisco  Gregorio  Billini  (1844-98), 
and  the  historical  tales  of  Cesar  Nicolas  Penson  (1855- 
1902),  entitled  Cos  as  arte j  as.  Of  similar  inspiration  was 
the  long  historical  novel  Enriquillo  by  Manuel  de  Jesus 
Galyan  (1834-1911),  published  in  1882,  but  written  a  few 
years  before.  In  both  the  style  and  the  interest  of  the 
subject-matter  Enriquillo  is  one  of  the  very  best  historical 
novels  that  have  been  written  by  a  Spanish  American. 
It  depicts  the  early  colonial  period  in  Hispaniola  at  the 
termination  of  the  administration  of  the  governor  Ovando, 
and  the  beginning  of  that  of  Diego  Colon,  the  Admiral's 
son.  The  arrival  of  Diego  Colon  with  his  bride,  Maria  de 
Toledo,  in  1509  forms  an  interesting  episode.  The  friar 
Bartolome  de  las  Casas,  the  famous  champion  of  human 
rights  for  the  oppressed  natives,  also  appears  in  its  pages. 
Their  grievances  and  last  rebellion  under  the  young  cacique 
whose  Christian  name  was  Enriquillo  compose  much  of 


the  narrative  and  make  it  the  foremost  work  of  Spanish- 
American  literary  art  in  prose  which  deals  with  the  life 
of  the  American  savages. 

Of  the  generation  of  men  who  took  active  part  in  the 
upbuilding  of  culture  in  Santo  Domingo  should  be  men- 
tioned Federico  Henriquez  y  ,,Car«ajaL(b.  1848),  now 
chief  justice  of  the  supreme  court.  Though  as  a  journalist 
in  early  life  he  wrote  verses  and  even  dramas,  of  which 
one,  La  Hija  del  Hebreo,  was  produced  on  the  stage,  he 
distinguished  himself  as  a  professor  in  the  normal  school 
established  by  Hostos  and  in  other  educational  institu- 
tions. In  Cuba,  he  is  gratefully  remembered  for  the 
assistance  which  he  rendered  the  patriots  of  the  revolu- 
tions of  1868  and  1895.  After  the  close  of  the  ten  years' 
war,  Maximo  Gomez  and  other  Cuban  leaders  found 
refuge  in  Santo  Domingo.  And  during  his  propaganda 
in  favor  of  a  fresh  attempt  at  independence,  Jose  Marti 
received  hearty  assistance  there.  Among  Martfs  writings 
there  is  no  more  glowing  page  than  that  which  describes 
his  visit  to  Maximo  Gomez  in  Santo  Domingo  in  1893, 
and  his  welcome  by  various  Dominicans.  From  there 
also  with  their  assistance  Marti  and  Gomez  set  out  for 
Cuba  to  raise  the  cry  at  Baira  that  precipitated  Cuba's 
final  and  successful  revolution.  Marti's  letter  to  Federico 
Henriquez  y  Carvajal,  dated  Montecristy,  March,  1895, 
on  the  eve  of  his  departure,  has  been  called  his  "political 

Of  the  fruits  of  the  educational  movement  in  Santo 
Domingo,  the  literary  activity  of  her  sons  and  daughters 
since  the  beginning  of  the  new  century  give  ample  testi- 
mony.    Of  the  older  generation  Emilio  Prud'homme  is 


distinguished  for  his  national  anthem  adopted  in  1897. 
In  prose,  Federico  Garcia  Godoy  has  long  been  a  leading 
literary  critic,  while  his  historical  novels  Rufinito,  Alma 
Dominicana,  and  the  recent  Guanuma,  191 5,  give  realistic 
pictures  of  the  Dominican  struggles  for  independence. 
The  author's  purpose  in  his  writings  has  been  to  awaken 
a  strong  feeling  of  nationality.  Guanuma,  the  name  of 
the  locality  where  the  soldiers  camped,  is  in  the  words  of 
the  author,  "a  synthetic  name  which  sums  up  the  second 
part  of  the  campaign  which  put  an  end  to  the  annexation 
by  the  withdrawal  of  the  Spanish  troops  from  Dominican 
)  territory  once  more  independent  through  the  tenacity  and 
heroism  of  her  sons." 

Of  a  younger  generation  were  the  poets  Gaston  F.  De- 
ligne  (1861-1913),  Rafael  A.  Deligne  (1863-1902),  and 
Arturo  Pellerano  Castro  (b.  1865),  whose  elegant  verses 
deserve  to  be  more  widely  known.  As  a  writer  of  prose 
Americo  Lugo  (b.  1871)  has  attracted  attention  by 
his  articles  on  sociological  and  critical  topics  and  fan- 
tastic tales,  some  of  which  have  been  collected  in  the 
volume  entitled  A  Punto  largo. 

To  the  modemista  movement,  Santo  Domingo  con- 
tributed Fabio  Fiallo  (b.  1865),  who  has  made  himself 
widely  known  in  Spanish  America  for  his  tales  in  both 
prose  and  verse.  Tulio  M.  Cestero  (b.  1877)  was  at  first 
one  of  the  most  extravagant  modemistas,  but  his  writings 
now  found  in  La  Revista  de  America  and  other  reviews 
show  a  considerable  modification  of  his  early  style. 
Manuel  F.  Cestero  has  also  produced  excellent  work  as  a 
journalist  and  writer  of  tales. 

The  educational  work  so  diligently  fostered  by  Dona 


Salome  Urena  de  Henriquez  has  done  marvels  for  culture 
in  Santo  Domingo.  Through  her  sons,  Pedro  Henriquez 
Ureiia  (b.  1884),  and  Max  Henriquez  Urena  (b.  1885), 
she  has  enriched  the  intellectual  life  of  Spanish  America. 
The  scene  of  Max  Henriquez  Urena's  activity  has  been 
Cuba  where  in  company  with  Jesus  Castellanos  he  founded 
the  Sociedad  de  Conferencias.  His  lectures  before  that 
society  and  his  many  articles  on  literary  topics  have 
greatly  furthered  the  knowledge  of  literary  history.  His 
recent  volume  of  poems,  Anforas,  testifies  to  his  inherited 
ability  in  writing  pleasing  and  musical  verses. 

Pedro  _Henriquez_JU[rena's  sphere  has  been  even  wider. 
His  tragic  poem  in  classical  style,  El  Nacimiento  de 
Dionisos,  evoked  great  praise  from  the  Uruguayan  critic 
Rodo.  His  studies  in  Greek  literature  led  him  to  make 
a  Spanish  translation  of  some  of  Walter  Pater's  essays, 
published  as  Estudios  griegos.  As  professor  of  literature 
in  the  University  of  Mexico,  he  wrote  many  useful  and 
interesting  articles.  The  most  brilliant  of  these  was  a 
lecture  in  which  he  set  forth  his  discovery  that  the  great 
Spanish  dramatist,  Juan  Ruiz  de  Alarcon,  was  brought  up 
in  Mexico  where  his  works  show  he  first  learned  the  ele- 
ments of  dramatic  art.  Other  essays  have  appeared  in 
the  volume  Horas  de  E studio.  For  the  history  of  Domini- 
can literature  he  has  done  greater  service  than  anyone 
both  in  his  essays  and  the  historical  sketch  preceding  the 
Antologia  dominicana  and  in  his  study  Romances  en 
Americay  in  which  he  collected  the  traditional  Spanish 
romances  still  sung  or  recited  by  the  people  in  Santo 



The  small  island  of  Puerto  Rico  owing  to  its  freedom 
from  political  disturbances  shows  a  different  type  of 
literary  production  from  that  of  other  more  agitated  com- 
munities. In  colonial  times  it  had  the  distinction  of 
sharing  with  Mexico  the  fame  of  Bernardo  de  Balbuena. 
While  bishop  of  Puerto  Rico  he  composed  his  heroic 
poem  Bernardo.  When  he  died,  he  bequeathed  to  the 
church  his  books  and  papers,  which  unfortunately  were 
destroyed  in  the  raid  by  the  Hollanders  in  1625. 

In  the  nineteenth  century  the  first  literary  fruitage  was 
lie  to  the  influence  of  the  activity  in  the  circle  of  Domingo 
del  Monte.  He  personally  encouraged  several  poets 
who  came  in  contact  with  him  in  Cuba.  In  1843  was 
printed  in  the  form  of  a  gift-book  for  ladies,  the  Aguinaldo 
Puerto-Riqueno,  a  collection  of  poems  by  natives  of  the 
island.  A  second  and  more  famous  collection  of  similar 
character  was  the  Cancionero  de  Borinquen,  1846,  which 
thus  made  use  of  the  poetic  aboriginal  name  of  the  island. 

In  this  book  the  best  poem  and  one  which  has  lived  in 
popular  memory  is  entitled  Insomnio  by  Santiago  Vidarte 
(1828-48).  Beginning  with  a  barcarole  it  sings  the  tropical 
beauty  of  Puerto  Rico  as  seen  at  dawn  from  the  sea. 

A  contributor  to  both  collections  was  Alejandrina 
Benitez  (18 19-  ?  ).  For  years  she  was  a  frequent  con- 
tributor to  the  periodicals  of  verses  with  a  virile  tone  like 
her  lines  A  Cuba  and  El  Cable  submarino.  She  made 
a  romantic  marriage  with  the  poet  Arce  Gautier,  and  their 
son,  Jose  Gautier  Benitez  (1848-80),  became  one  of  the 
best  poets  who  have  written  in  Puerto  Rico. 


The  interest  in  country  people  and  their  customs  popu- 
larized in  Cuba  by  Del  Monte,  Velez  Herrera  and  other 
poets  had  its  echo  in  the  prose  sketches  of  Manuel  A. 
xf  Alonso  (1823-?),  which  he  published  under  the  title  of 
El  Gibaro,  the  name  given  to  the  white  country  people 
of  Puerto  Rico.  These  valuable  contributions  to  folk 
lore  were  written  from  his  intimate  knowledge  of  the 
peasants  and  their  peculiar  dialect,  a  mixture  of  popular 
Andalusian,  old  Castilian,  and  various  aboriginal  words. 

A  native  of  Puerto  Rico  connected  with  the  Cuban 

group  about  Milanes  who  sought  to  put  poetry  out  to 

^   social  service  was  Narciso  de  Foxa.     His  poems  were 

partly  descriptive,  partly  allegorical.    His  most  ambitious 

effort  was  a  Canto  epico  sohre  el  Descubrimiento  de  America. 

Alejandro  Tapia  (1827-82),  who  as  a  youth  Hkewise 
found  encouragement  from  Domingo  del  Monte,  was 
the  most  prolific  writer  yet  produced  by  Puerto  Rico. 
Beginning  with  researches  into  the  history  of  the  island, 
he  passed  to  the  writing  of  historical  dramas  and  novels 
and  finally  composed  a  pseudo-epic  poem  of  great  length. 
Living  in  Havana  in  1862  he  printed  a  volume.  El  Bardo 
de  Guamaniy  containing  his  first  productions,  various 
lyrics,  a  prose  tale,  La  Antigua  Sirena,  and  the  dramas, 
Bernardo  de  Palissy  and  Roberto  d'Evreux.  The  latter  in 
representing  Queen  Elizabeth  of  England  contains  a 
notable  monologue  by  her  before  she  signs  the  death 
warrant  of  Mary  Stuart.  After  the  publication  of  this 
volume  Tapia  returned  to  Puerto  Rico.  There  he  wrote 
and  staged  several  dramas,  CamoenSy  1868,  Vasco  Nunez 
de  Balboa,  1873,  and  others. 

Tapia  then  turned  his  attention  to  narrative,  producing 


Cofresi  in  1876,  a  tale  dealing  with  the  legendary  history 
of  Puerto  Rico;  and  Postumo  el  Transmigradoy  the  imag- 
inary story  of  a  man  whose  soul  transmigrated  into  the 
body  of  his  enemy.  Later  Tapia  wrote  in  the  same 
vein  Postumo  Envirgenado,  which  related  the  adventures 
of  a  man  in  the  body  of  a  woman.  The  spiritualistic 
leanings  which  led  Tapia  to  interest  himself  in  this  sort 
of  tale  induced  him  to  spend  energy  for  sixteen  years  in 
composing  La  Sataniada  in  thirty  cantos. 

The  extravagant  prolixity  of  this  poem,  a  curious  com- 
pound of  science  and  religion,  attempts  an  explanation  of 
the  universe  according  to  the  fundamental  notion  that 
this  world  is  hell,  ruled  by  Satan.  Poets  are  apostles  to 
lead  the  human  race  to  a  superior  development  here  and 
hereafter.  The  author  expected  his  poem  would  take  rank 
as  the  fourth  epic  of  universal  literature  after  the  Iliad, 
the  Divina  Comedia,  and  Faust. 

Of  more  real  value  than  his  literary  work  perhaps  was 
Tapia's  influence  on  his  compatriots  for  he  showed  them 
the  way  to  better  education  and  better  literary  tastes. 
He  died  suddenly  at  a  public  meeting  when  explaining  a 
plan  for  the  education  of  poor  children. 

Certain  journalists  and  publicists  have  greatly  contrib- 
uted by  their  writings  to  determining  the  intellectual 
movement  in  Puerto  Rico.  Roman  Baldorioty  de  Castro 
(1822-  .? ),  was  the  most  popular  of  his  countrymen  on 
account  of  his  efforts  to  obtain  better  political  conditions 
from  the  Spaniards.  As  a  deputy  for  Puerto  Rico  in  the 
Spanish  Cortes  Constituyentes  of  1869,  he  strove  for  the 
abolition  of  slavery  and  attracted  considerable  attention 
by  his 'able  speeches.     In  1874,  political  reaction  com- 


pelled  him  to  emigrate  to  Santo  Domingo  where  he  taught 
at  the  University.  At  the  moment  Santo  Domingo  was 
enjoying  a  renaissance  of  culture,  and  was  glad  to  welcome 
him  as  well  as  his  compatriot,  E.  M.  Hostos.  When  Bal- 
dorioty  was  permitted  to  return  home,  he  spent  his  time 
expounding  in  the  papers  his  liberal  views  urging  political 
autonomy  for  Puerto  Rico  and  become  president  of  a 
society  working  for  that  end. 

^  Manuel  Corchado  (1840-84)  was  another  publicist 
who  strove  for  improvements  in  conditions  in  his  native 
island.  To  further  the  efforts  for  the  abolition  of  slavery, 
he  wrote  a  Biografia  de  Lincoln.  He  was  famous  as  an 
orator  and  put  his  talents  at  the  service  of  his  compatriots 
as  a  deputy  to  the  Spanish  Cortes.  He  wrote  poems  also, 
chiefly  of  the  civic  type. 

yC  Eugenio  Maria  de  Hostos  (1839-1903),  belongs  not  only 
to  Puerto  Rico  but  to  Santo  Domingo  and  Chile,  which 
countries  profited  by  his  remarkable  intellect.  But  the 
course  of  his  life  was  determined  by  his  patriotic  love  of 
his  country.  He  was  established  in  Spain  as  a  young 
lawyer  in  1868,  when  the  stand  which  he  took  in  arguing 
with  the  government  for  reforms  in  Puerto  Rico  resulted 
in  his  banishment.  He  went  first  to  the  United  States 
where  he  worked  with  the  Cuban  revolutionary  junta. 
The  ideal  which  he  consistently  urged  all  his  life  was  the 
political  union  of  all  the  Antilles.  Leaving  the  United 
States  he  traveled  over  Spanish  America.  In  1880  he 
was  invited  to  Santo  Domingo,  where  he  performed  the 
most  important  labor  of  his  career  in  organizing  along 
modem  lines  the  schools  of  that  land.  After  nine  years 
of  labor   he   was   expelled    by   the   reactionary   dictator 


Heureaux.  Chile  then  offered  him  a  professorship  in  her 
national  university.  As  professor  of  international  law  he 
composed  a  textbook  on  the  subject  which  is  held  in  high 
esteem  throHghout  Latin  America.  In  1898  he  tried  to 
organize  a  league  of  patriots  against  the  domination  of 
the  United  States  in  Puerto  Rico  and  to  carry  out  his 
scheme  for  a  union  of  the  Antilles. 

Poets  who  flourished  in  Puerto  Rico  before  the  mod- 
emista  movement  were  Gautier  Benitez,  Francisco  Al- 
varez, a  becquerista  adherent,  and  D.  F.  J.  Amy  who 
^^anslated  many  poems  by  North  Americans.  The 
poetess,  Dona  Lola  Rodriguez  de  Tio,  whose  first  volume, 
Mis  Cantares,  was  published  in  1876,  achieved  her  greatest 
successes  in  Cuba  where  for  many  years  she  was  a  favorite 
at  literary  gatherings.  In  the  words  of  a  Cuban,  "Her 
poetry  is  herself,  nobility,  sentiment,  uprightness,  love  of 
home,  friendship."  She  still  contributes  occasionally 
to  the  periodicals. 

Manuel  Fernandez  Juncos  (bom  1846)  took  upon  him- 
self the  task  of  preserving  the  literary  history  of  Puerto 
Rico.  Beside  writing  articles  on  its  customs  he  prepared 
a  valuable  anthology  of  its  writers. 


During  the  colonial  period  Central  America,  now  di- 
vided into  the  five  republics,  Guatemala,  Honduras,  EI 
Salvador,  Nicaragua  and  Costa  Rica,  was  politically 
organized,  together  with  the  adjoining  Mexican  state  of 
Chiapas,  into  the  captaincy  general  of  Guatemala.  When 
Mexico  won  its  independence  of  Spain  the  whole  territory 


temporarily  became  a  part  of  that  country,  but  in  1823  the 
five  provinces  estabhshed  themselves  as  the  Republic  of 
the  United  States  of  Central  America.  But  after  fifteen 
years  of  union  internal  dissensions  broke  up  the  con- 
federation into  its  component  parts  which  despite  various 
attempts  at  reunion  have  remained  independent  republics. 

Of  the  total  population  approximating  five  million 
about  two-fifths  dwell  in  Guatemala,  one-fifth  in  the 
densely  inhabited  and  mountainous  El  Salvador.  The 
majority  of  the  people  are  of  mixed  Spanish  and  Indian 
blood,  for  the  native  races  have  been  well  absorbed.  Never- 
theless, regions  exist  where  the  Indians  remain  the  same 
primitive  savages  as  their  ancestors  were  at  the  time  of 
the  first  Spanish  conquests  of  Cortes  and  Pedro  de  Al- 
varado.  In  Costa  Rica,  visited  by  Columbus  on  his  third 
voyage  and  subjugated  by  Pedrarias  de  Avila  from  Panama 
in  15 13,  the  population  of  three  hundred  and  fifty  thousand 
contains  a  much  larger  percentage  of  unmixed  Spanish 
blood  than  that  of  the  other  states. 

Apart  from  the  numerous  revolutions  and  almost  in- 
cessant fighting  in  these  republics,  the  most  discussed 
incident  in  their  recent  history  was  the  attempt  by  the 
North  American  filibuster,  William  Walker,  to  carve  out 
new  slave  territory  to  be  added  to  our  southern  states. 
Temporarily  successful  in  Nicaragua  in  1856,  he  was. cap- 
tured and  shot  during  an  expedition  in  i860  into  Honduras. 

During  the  colonial  period  there  was  produced  in  the 
monastic  establishments  of  Guatemala  a  considerable 
bulk  of  writing  mainly  in  Latin.  In  that  language  was 
written  by  Rafael  Landivar  (1731-93),  a  member  of  a 
religious  order  in  Guatemala,  a  poem  Rusticatio  mexicana 


which  critics  have  universally  praised  for  its  high  literary 
merit.  Having  for  its  topic  the  beauties  and  wonders  of 
America  it  belongs  to  that  Virgilian  type  of  descriptive 
poetry  so  common  to  American  literature.  The  poem  has 
attracted  many  translators,  and  especially  to  be  praised 
is  the  Spanish  version  of  the  Mexican  Joaquin  Arcadio 

Natives  of  Central  America  who  have  attained  literary 
fame  achieved  it  often  out  of  their  own  country  where  the 
opportunity  for  development  was  too  restricted.  The 
most  notable  instance  is  that  of  the  leader  of  the  modem- 
ista  movement  throughout  America,  Ruben  Pario,  who 
was  bom  in  Nicaragua,  and  exercised  his  poetical  gifts 
in  Buenos  Aires.  Yet  the  Central  American  aboriginal 
strain  in  his  blood  so  evident  in  his  portrait  tinges  also 
his  writings. 

A  native  of  Guatemala  whose  life  was  likewise  chiefly 
spent  away  from  his  native  land  was  Antonio  Jose  de 
Irisarri  (i 786-1 868).  Inheriting  immense  wealth  from 
his  father,  he  was  obliged  to  go  to  Peru  for  the  purpose 
of  looking  after  his  property.  Moreover,  he  had  relatives 
there  and  in  Chile  among  the  wealthiest  and  most  in- 
fluential families.  Espousing  the  cause  of  the  revolution, 
he  held  prominent  offices  in  both  the  military  and  civil 
establishments.  Obliged  by  the  success  of  the  Spanish 
arms  in  18 14  to  leave  Chile  he  went  to  Europe  by  way  of 
Buenos  Aires.  When  Chile  won  her  independence  in  1818 
Irisarri  was  appointed  as  her  diplomatic  representative 
in  Paris  and  London  in  which  capacity  he  remained  till 
1825.  His  principal  achievement  was  the  obtaining  for 
Chile  of  a  loan  on  more  favorable  terms  than  those  usually 


granted  to  the  American  republics.  From  Europe  he  re- 
turned to  Guatemala  in  time  to  take  part  in  one  of  the 
internal  quarrels  of  the  new  republic.  Though  general 
of  an  army  he  was  captured  and  remained  a  prisoner  for 
nine  months  till  he  was  allowed  to  escape  and  betake  him- 
self again  to  Chile.  Again  he  occupied  various  public 
offices.  In  1837  he  was  appointed  Chilean  minister  in 
Lima.  A  year  later  he  removed  to  Ecuador  and  lived  there 
till  1845.  Thence  by  way  of  Colombia,  Venezuela,  Cura- 
sao, Jamaica,  Cuba  he  came  to  New  York,  arriving  in 
1849.  In  1855  he  was  made  the  diplomatic  representative 
of  Guatemala  in  the  United  States. 

Wherever  Irisarri  resided  his  pen  was  diligently  em- 
ployed and  his  means  permitted  him  to  found  periodicals 
for  the  publication  of  its  products.  One  of  these  period- 
icals most  worthy  of  mention  is  El  Censor  americano, 
printed  in  1820  in  London.  To  it  Andres  Bello  contributed 
and  possibly  took  therefrom  the  idea  of  the  reviews  which 
he  himself  edited.  The  character  of  Irisarri^s  writings  was 
as  diverse  as  the  requirements  of  his  numerous  journals. 
Many  of  his  political  polemics  were  also  printed  in  pam- 
phlet form.  His  productions  in  verse  he  collected  in  the 
volume  entitled  Poesias  satiricas  y  burlescasy  while  his 
articles  on  grammar  and  philology  of  which  he  was  ex- 
cessively fond  he  republished  in  Cuestiones  filogicas. 
V  To  another  native  of  Guatemala,  Jose  de   Batres  y 

Montufar  (1809-44),  the  Spanish  critic  Menendez  y  Pelayo 
accords  the  highest  praise.  He  ranks  him  with  the  best 
poets  of  America,  though  the  Guatemalan's  principal  work, 
Tradiciones  de  Guatemala^  consisting  of  three  merry  tales 
in  verse,  belongs  to  a  minor  genre.    The  title  is  somewhat 


misleading  because  the  stories  are  three  bits  of  scandal 
which  might  be  localized  anywhere.  But  they  are  related 
without  offensive  details,  gracefully,  and  with  merry 
humor.  Moreover,  they  abound  in  local  color  when  the 
author  describes  the  procession  on  St.  Cecelia's  day  or 
caricatures  the  old  hidalgo,  Pascual  del  Pescon.  The 
author  pretended  merely  to  translate  in  royal  octaves  the 
tales  of  the  Italian  poet  Casti  but  his  work  is  original. 
He  imitated  Byron  to  the  extent  of  making,  like  his  Don 
Juan,  skeptical  and  misanthropic  digressions  from  the 
Inarrative.  Altogether  Batres  y  Montufar,  according  to 
the  Spanish  critic,  is  the  "most  finished  model  of  jocose 

The  romantic  movement  awakened  echoes  in  Central 
America.  By  his  Tardes  de  Abril  the  Guatemalan  Juan 
Dieguez  (1813-66)  became  a  most  popular  poet  and  his 
brilliant  evocations  of  nature  are  known  to  all  his  country- 
men. His  Oda  a  la  Independencia  fills  their  special  need 
for  an  expression  of  patriotism,  while  La  Garza,  written  in 
exile,  voices  feelings  experienced  by  many  fellow  country- 

The  most  prolific  writer  in  Guatemala  was  Jose  Milla  X* 
(1822-82),  "Salome  Gil,"  who  long  held  the  position  of 
editor  of  the  Gaceta  Oficial.  He  busied  himself  with  the 
study  of  history  and  not  only  wrote  a  Historia  de  Guatemala 
but  gave  forth  the  results  of  his  studies  in  many  historical 
novels.  One  of  the  earliest,  Don  Bonifacio,  written  in 
verse,  novelizes  an  episode  which  occurred  in  1731.  His 
prose  novels  contain  realistic  pictures  of  life  in  Guatemala. 

During  the  years  from  1854  to  i860  a  Spaniard,  Fran- 
cisco Velarde,  directed  a  school  in  Guatemala  which  ex-    yC 



ercised  a  considerable  influence  on  the  young  men  who 
attended  it.  Velarde  was  a  romantic  poet  whose  Melodias 
TomdnticaSy  and  Cdnticos  del  Nuevo  Mundo  belong  to  the 
school  of  Zorrilla.  The  author  being  personally  known 
these  poems  have  been  much  imitated  in  America. 
Through  him  the  Indian  legend  became  popular. 

In  the  republic  of  El  Salvador  there  have  lived  several 
poets  worthy  of  mention.  Juan  Jose  Bemal  wrote  in  a 
X  mystic  vein  with  a  feeling  for  nature.  Juan  Jose  Caiias 
(1826-00)  possessed  a  sentimental  and  patriotic  note.  At 
the  time  of  the  gold  fever  in  California  he  visited  the  mines 
there  but  without  material  success.  Later  he  fought 
against  the  filibustering  expedition  of  William  Walker. 
Then  he  was  sent  on  a  diplomatic  mission  to  Chile.  All 
these  experiences  were  recorded  in  his  poems.  Fond  of 
the  ocean  his  best  poems  recall  his  voyages,  especially 
the  patriotic  lines  A.  J.  M.  Dow,  capitdn  del  vapor  Guate- 
mala and  the  sentimental  Se  va  el  vapor,  long  a  favorite 
song  in  Costa  Rica. 
^^  ^saac  Ruiz  Araujo  (1850-81)  and  Francisco^JE^^Qalindo^ 
(1850-00)  compete  with  each  other  for  the  place  of  premier 
poet  of  Salvador.  Their  themes  were  love,  natural  scenery 
and  patriotism.  The  latter  also  wrote  a  play  in  three 
acts,  Dos  Flores,  with  a  patriotic  plot^ 

Joaquin  Aragon  (b.  1863)  was  a  diligent  versifier  of 
national  legends  some  of  which  were  lengthy.  Milta, 
for  example,  was  the  story  of  an  Indian  maid  by  that 
name  who  fell  in  love  with  a  young  officer  in  the  first 
Spanish  army  that  came  to  Cuscatlan  (such  was  the  na- 
tive name  for  the  country)  under  the  leadership  of  Pedro 
de  Alvarado.     The  young  man  for  love  of  her  refuses  to 


obey  the  orders  of  his  superiors.  Soon  thereafter  the 
woman  was  ordered  by  the  cacique  of  her  village  to  kill 
the  Spaniard.  As  the  command  was  said  to  be  from 
God,  she  obeyed  but  promptly  killed  herself.  When  the 
Spanish  soldiers,  coming  to  arrest  the  deserter,  found 
that  he  has  been  murdered,  they  slaughtered  the  whole 

The  semi-official  anthologies  of  the  Central  American 
states  make  a  brave  showing  of  poets  in  the  matter  of 
number,  but  a  reading  of  their  productions  does  not  im- 
press one  with  great  merit.  In  Costa  Rica  the  becquerista 
manner,  had  a  considerable  following.  Emilio  Pacheco, 
Carlos  Gagini,  and  Rafael  Machado  were  the  most  pro- 
lific. When  the  modemista  movement  attracted  atten- 
tion there  arose  in  that  state  a  poet,  Aquileo  J.  Echeverria, 
who  deserves  wider  recognition  for  his  criollo  romances. 

To  Nicaragua  abundance  of  literary  honor  has  been 
conferred  by  having  been  the  birthplace  of  Ruben  Dario. 
Also  bom  in  Nicaragua  was  Santiago  Argiiello  whose 
verses  in  the  modemista  manner  have  attracted  favorable 
attention  in  other  countries  where  he  has  lived. 



The  year  18&8  may  be  adopted  to  make  a  date  for  the 
most  recent  movement  in  Spanish-American  literature. 
In  that  year  Ruben  Dario  (1867-1916),  published  in 
Valparaiso  a  volume  of  prose  and  verse  entitled  Azul^ 
instantly  received  with  acclaim  by  the  young  men.  The 
peculiar  qualities  of  these  poems  were  not  wholly  Dario's 
invention  though  their  excellency  of  execution  displayed 
the  high  quality  of  his  poetic  gifts.  From  Mexico,  from 
Cuba,  from  Colombia,  from  every  country  where  men 
were  writing  the  Spanish  language,  this  talented  poet 
absorbed  tendencies  and  methods  and  welded  them  into 
a  product  of  his  own.  In  Buenos  Aires,  a  group  of  ardent 
admirers  became  imitators  of  the  new  style.  To  provide 
an  outlet  for  their  productions  they  founded  a  periodical, 
an  example  which  was  followed  by  young  men  in  other 
countries  who  proclaimed  themselves  adherents  of  the 
new  school. 

The  modemista  idea  consisted  in  an  adaptation  to  the 
Spanish  language  of  the  form  and  substance  of  the  French 
Parnassian,  decadent  and  symbolist  schools  of  verse. 
Beginning  with  translation  and  imitation  the  Spanish 
Americans  progressed  till  the  content  of  the  poems  was 
largely  derived  from  American  sources.  In  poetic  forms 
and  meters  they  effected  a  revolution  whose  influence 



spread  to  Spain  itself.  The  poets  consciously  sought  to 
widen  the  horizon  of  poetic  endeavor  by  rejecting  the 
tyranny  of  ancient  rules  of  prosody.  Their  cult  of  beauty 
led  them  to  evocations  of  ancient  Greece  and  their  love 
of  elegance  to  the  Versailles  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
In  reaction  against  the  excesses  of  the  naturalistic  school, 
they  believed  that  art  had  a  mission  as  a  creator  of  beauty 
to  cover,  as  it  were  with  a  veil,  the  brutality  of  human 
life.  In  rebellion  against  the  narrowing  influences  of 
regionalism  they  hoped  to  find  a  common  basis  for  their 
literary  art  in  the  theory  that  their  civilization  was 
European.  The  later  poets  have  rejected  this  theory  and 
built  on  a  universal  Americanism  which  finds  its  bond 
of  union  in  a  common  language  and  a  similar  racial 

That  a  type  of  literature  so  artificial  in  its  leading 
characteristics  should  meet  with  such  wide  acceptance 
proves  that  it  corresponded  to  the  needs  and  desires  of 
Spanish  Americans.  Their  various  countries  were  pass- 
ing through  a  feverish  stage  of  material  development 
which  to  men  of  artistic  temperament  offered  little  that 
was  stimulating.  For  that  reason  they  looked  abroad. 
Momentarily  the  Teutonic  spirit  as  revealed  to  them  in 
Becquer*s  poems  and  the  translations  from  Heine  made 
by  Perez  Bonalde  and  the  Cubans  Antonio  and  Francisco 
Sellen  made  a  strong  appeal.  But  the  love  of  the  exotic, 
so  strong  in  all  modernista  poets,  was  better  satisfied  by 
the  work  of  the  French  poets.  Verlaine  was  the  favorite, 
but  there  was  scarcely  one  of  them  who  has  not  had  his 

Though  Ruben  Dario  was  the  master,  his  precursors 



in  America  were  not  without  influence  on  his  work.  Fnre- 
most  in  point  of  time  was  the  Mexican  Gutierrez  Najera 
wRcTstrove  to  adapt  to  the  SpantslT  language  some  of 
the  musical  qualities  of  the  French.  To  his  efforts  may 
be  traced  the  modernista  demand  that  speech  should  be 
endowed  with  the  emotional  power  of  music.  Keenly 
sensitrve^o  music  he  gave  a  poetical  interpretation  to  a 
favorite  composition  in  his  poem  La  Serenata  de  Schuberiy 
of  which  he  says  "so  would  my  soul  speak  if  it  could." 
His  masterpiece  in  imparting  to  words  the  suggestive 
quality  of  music  was  his  last  poem,  J  la  Corregidoray 
written  for  recitation  at  the  laying  of  the  cornerstone  of  a 
monument  to  a  lady.  The  poet  bids  the  attentive  ear 
listen  to  the  opening  of  the  buds  in  the  spring,  to  the 
murmuring  waters  and  the  singing  of  the  birds;  the  whole 
earth  is  hymning  the  psalm  of  life  to  the  lady  and  offering 
incense  at  her  altar.  The  novelty  is  not  in  the  ideas,  but 
in  the  method  whereby  the  poet  succeeds  in  conveying 
them  as  much  by  the  sheer  flow  of  verbal  sound  as  by  the 
meaning  of  his  words. 

Another  poet,  also  a  Mexican,  to  whom  Ruben  Dario 
owed  something  was  Salvador  Diaz  Miron.  The  latter 
put  a  personal  stamp  not  only  on  the  energetic  handling 
of  his  personal  or  social  themes,  but  also  on  a  certain 
meter,  the  hendecasyllabic  quatrain.  This  meter,  though 
not  widely  used  in  Spain,  was  popular  in  Spanish  America 
for  religious  and  love  poetry.  Diaz  Miron  adapted  it  to 
heroic  themes,  in  which  form  it  was  widely  imitated  and 
became  associated  with  his  name.  Ruben  Dario  in  Azul 
paid  him  the  compliment  of  a  sonnet  which  gave  a  just 
characterization  of  Diaz  Miron's  verses  as  follows: 


Your  quatrain  is  a  four  yoked  chariot  drawn  by  wild  eagles 
who  love  the  tempests  and  the  oceans.  Heavy  brands  and  stone 
clubs  are  the  proper  weapons  for  your  hands.  Your  mind  has 
craters  and  ejects  lavas.  Your  rude  strophes,  never  slaves, 
travel  over  the  mountains  and  plains  of  art  like  a  herd  of  Amer- 
ican buffaloes.  What  sounds  from  your  lyre  sounds  far,  as 
when  Boreas  speaks  or  the  thunder.  Son  of  the  new  world,  let 
humanity  hear  the  pomp  of  your  lyric  hymns  which  triumphantly 
salute  liberty. 

It  is  a  tribute  to  Dario*s  versatility  that  he  could  draw 
inspiration  from  this  fire-eater  when  his  own  habit  of 
mind,  loving  elegance' and  beauty,  was  so  different.  It 
was  easy  on  the  other  hand  for  him  to  find  suggestions 
in  the  work  of  a  Cuban  poet,  Julian  del  Casal,  who  was 
living  in  a  world  of  his  own  creation,  a  bit  of  Japan  set 
down  in  Havana. 

Julian  del  CasaI^(i863-93),  completely  imbued  with  the 
spirit  of  French_£oetry,  not  only  composed  his  verses  in 
the  same  manner  but  arranged  his  daily  life  in  keeping 
with  its  suggestions.  For  a  poetic  canon  he  adopted  the 
epistle  which  accompanies  the- second  volume  of  Jean 
MoresLS^ Les  Cantilenes.  His  living-room  he  furnished  in 
Japan'SsFstyle  so  minutely,  that  he  even  kept  joss  sticks 
scented  with  sandal  wood  burning  before  an  image  of 
Buddha.  This  love  of  Oriental  elegance  appears  in  his 
poems,  notably  Kakemono  in  which  he  describes  to  the 
last  detail  of  color  and  outline  the  toilet  of  a  geisha,  the 
make-up  of  her  face,  the  arrangement  of  her  hair  and  the 
embroidery  of  her  silken  clothing.  Parisian  elegance 
had  no  less  a  fascination  for  his  mind.  As,  however,  he 
had  never  been  in  Paris,  that  world  was  equally  an  im- 
aginary one,  as  exotic  as  the  ancient  Greek  world  whose 


beauty  he  loved.  Thepessimism  of  Baudelaire  and  Ban- 
ville  likewise  appealed  to  his  nature.  They  scarcely  sur- 
passed Casal  in  his  expressions  of  discontent  at  the  uni- 
verse, or  of  horror  at  early  death  which  in  point  of  fact 
he  did  meet. 

The  souget^practiced  with  such  perfection  by  Leconte 
de  ITsle  and  J.  M.  de  Heredia  was  CasaFs  favorite  form 
of  verse.  Like  them  he  drew  vivid  pictures  whose  care- 
lully  chosen  details  leave  a  strong  impression  on  the 
reader's  mind.  His  portraits  of  individuals,  Prometheus, 
Salome,  Helen  of  Troy  are  unique.  The  sonnet  on  the 
latter,  for  example,  is  a  gem  of  great  beauty.  The  first 
quatrain  refers  to  the  heaps  of  the  slain,  the  second  draws 
attention  to  the  smoking  ruins  of  Ilion,  the  tercets  reveal 
Helen  "wrapped  in  a  vestment  of  opaline  gauze  spangled 
with  gold"  as  "she  gazes  indifferent  at  the  murky  horizon, 
toying  with  a  lily  in  her  rosy  fingers."  With  equal  skill 
Casal  depicted  persons  of  the  actual  world  about  him  in 
Havana;  the  barefoot  friar  begging  for  alms  whose  mind 
is  distracted  between  the  call  to  mass  from  the  convent 
bell  and  the  braying  of  his  ass;  the  maja,  clad  in  a  gaily 
embroidered  Manila  shawl,  whose  little  slippers,  as  she 
dances,  dart  back  and  forth  beneath  her  skirt  of  black 
lace  and  green  satin  "like  timid  doves  in  the  foliage." 

Though  Casal  lived  in  an  artificial  world  of  his  own 
creation  he  took  an  interest  in  the  troubled  politics  which 
was  agitating  Havana  and  his  friends  who  were  writing 
like  himself  for  La  Habana  Elegante,  He  wrote  not  only  a 
few  poems  on  certain  abhorred  acts  of  the  government  but 
also  contributed  prose  sketches  on  Havana  society.  One 
of  the  latter  containing  piquant  references  to  the  governor 


and  his  family  brought  the  police  to  the  office  of  the 
periodical.  Among  his  essays  in  prose  should  be  men- 
tioned a  study  of  Joris  Karl  Huysmans  whose  work  Casal 
greatly  admired.  Some  of  his  articles  in  prose  were 
collected  in  the  volume  entitled  Bustos  y  Rimas,  published 
in  1893.  His  earlier  poems  were  printed  in  Hojas  al 
VientOy  1890,  and  NievCy  1891. 

The  dates  of  these  collections  would  show  that  Casal 
was  merely  contemporary  with  Ruben  Dario,  but  as 
CasaFs  poems  began  to  appear  in  periodicals  in  the  middle 
eighties  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  Dario  was  conversant 
with  them.  And  if  Casal  was  not  an  actual  precursor  of 
Dario  it  is  certain  that  the  latter*s  verses  in  Prosas  Prof  anas 
show  in  a  more  marked  degree  than  in  his  Azul  that  love  1 
of  the  exotic,  that  delight  in  color  and  that  sensual  joy 
in  the  refinements  of  elegance  which  Casal  displayed  from 
the  first.  5^oreover,  Dario  passed  several  weeks  in  Havana 
in  intiniate  acquaintance  with  Casal.  They  wrote  poems 
in  collaboration  from  which  it  is  impossible  for  the  critic 
to  separate  their  respective  compositions.  And  in  Paginal 
de  Vida  Casal,  without  mentioning  Dario's  name,  described 
the  visitation  of  a  poet  who  strove  to  move  him  from  his 

Another  contemporary  whose  metrical  experiments 
taught  Dario  something  was  the  Colombian  Jose.  Asuncion  ){ 
SilyaJ^i  860-96),  truly  a  poet  of  the  first  rank.  Alva's 
verses  possess  the  charm  of  strong  personal  feeling  set 
forth  sincerely  in  musical  language.  Ihough^essimistic 
in  ton^  there  is  no  pose  about  them  and  at  times  the  joy 
of  living  shines  through  the  gloom  of  disillusion.  If  ever 
a  man  has  been  harassed  by  bad  fortune  it  was  Silva.    Of 


aristocratic  lineage  he  was  bom  handsome  and  wealthy. 
But  he  suffered  one  blow  of  fortune  after  another.  His 
family  inheritance  was  swept  away  by  a  revolution  in 
Colombia.  His  father  dying  it  devolved  on  the  son  not 
only  to  support  the  family  but  to  attempt  to  recover  some 
part  of  the  lost  property.  In  this  he  was  unsuccessful. 
The  manuscript  of  a  literary  work  of  which  he  had  high 
hopes  was  lost  at  sea  during  transmission  to  France  for 
publication.  His  verses,  his  chief  solace  in  evil  days,  were 
not  printed  in  collected  form  till  after  his  death.  Finally 
a  beautiful  sister  of  whom  he  was  very  fond  was  claimed 
by  death.  So  he  could  think  of  no  relief  for  his  ills  but  the 
taking  of  his  own  life  by  a  pistol  shot. 

The  obggssJQn  of  death  and  the  pessimistic  attitude  of 
one  whose  joy  in  living  is  almost  childlike  are  the  striking 
characteristics  of  Silva's  mentality.  Childhood  memories 
frequently  recur  to  him.  In  the  musical  poem  Crepusculo 
he  retells  the  fairy  stories  which  delighted  his  babyhood 
days  and  crowd  into  his  mind  as  he  listens  to  the  grand- 
mother singing  a  child  to  sleep. 

The  most  widely  known  of  Silva*s  poems  are  Los  Noc- 
turngSi^onsistmg  of  the  brief  relation  of  four  love  scenes 
with  a  tragic  note.  Metrically  these  display  Silva's 
originality  in  the  handling  of  long  and  short  lines  in  an 
attempt  to  adjust  the  rhythm  of  the  verse  to  the  inward 
rhythm  of  the  thought.  One  of  his  methods  was  the 
repetition  of  words  or  lines  assisted  by  the  mode  of  print- 
ing. He  sought,  for  example,  to  evoke  the  shadows  of  the 
lovers  in  the  moonlight  thus: 

Y  tu  sombra 
fina  y  languida 


y  mi  sombra, 
por  los  rayos  de  la  luna  proyectadas, 

sobre  las  arenas  tristes  <  ^ 

de  la  senda  se  juntaban,    /  >^ 
y  eran  una,  <i>-) 

y  eran  una,  /%i* 

y  eran  una  sola  sombra  larga,        ^^ 
y  eran  una  sola  sombra  larga, 
y  eran  una  sola  sombra  larga. 

One  of  Silva's  finest  poems  is  Ante  la  Estatua,  referring 
to  the  famous  statue  of  Bolivar  in  the  public  square  of 
Bogota.  Its  pessimistic  purpose  of  pointing  out  the 
pettiness  of  mankind  is  again  characteristic.  The  poet's 
attention  is  drawn  to  the  bronze  figure  because  he  sees 
two  boys  playing  in  front  of  the  statue.  As  he  meditates 
he  hears  a  voice  speak  of  the  hero  in  a  depreciative  manner. 
Tales  of  colonfal  times  occur  to  the  poet*s  memory,  and 
the  form  of  the  Liberator  rises  before  his  eyes,  who  dis- 
courses at  length  on  the  hours  of  bitterness  falling  to  his 
lot  in  his  last  years  at  the  hands  of  the  peoples  for  whom 
he  had  labored. 

Silva*s  metrical  mannerisms  when  imitated  by  others 
degenerated.  He  was  as  inimitable  as  Edgar  Allen  Poe 
whom  Silva  greatly  admired,  and  whose  rendering  of  the 
sound  of  bells  he  tried  to  rival  in  Spanish  in  El  Dia  de 
Difuntos,  In  fact  Poe  was  a  favorite  not  only  with  Silva 
but  with  other  modernista  poets.  The  references  to  Poe 
in  their  works,  as  well  as  to  Walt  Whitman  are  numerous. 
With  the  latter  in  fact  they  seem  to  feel  a  certain  affinity. 
Ruben  Dario  often  calls  on  the  name  of  Walt  Whitman  as 
the  one  singer  of  the  New  World  who  tried  to  be  truly 


It  is  a  tribute  to  Ruben  Dario's  talent  that  he  could 

gather  ideas  from  so  many  diverse  sources  arid  make  them 

/into  his  own  by  means  of  his  marvelous  ability  for  writing 

'  verses.     He  was  like  a  bee  that  could  make  honey  from 

many  flowers.    His  life  too  was  that  of  the  wanderer.    Bom 

in  Nicaragua,  he  emigrated  to  the  west  coast  of  South 

America  and  thence  to  Buenos  Aires.    While  in  Chile  he 

made  his  first  great  literary  success  by  the  publication  of 

\  \\  Azul.    This  book  was  partly  in  prose  and  partly  in  verse. 

It  is  a  mark  of  Dario's  unusual  ability  that  an  account  of 

his  career  must  consider  both  his  prose  and  his  verse. 

The  prose  compositions  of  Azul  were  impressionistic 
pieces,  almost  poems  in  prose.  Though  most  have  the 
form  of  tales  or  fairy  stories,  their  scenes  being  laid  in 
Greece  or  some  other  land  of  the  author's  imagination, 
some  are  mere  torrents  of  imagery.  Nearly  all  teach  the 
compelling  force  of  the  desire  for  the  ideal,  whether  for 
the  poet  the  ideal  is  a  nymph  in  the  wood.  La  Ninfa,  or  for 
the  gnome  the  ruby.  El  Rubi,  symbol  of  the  reproductive 
power  of  mother  earth.  Blue  is  the  color  of  the  ideal,  like 
the  veil  of  Queen  Mab,  El  Velo  de  la  Reina  Mab,  who  comes 
in  her  car  made  of  a  single  pearl  to  the  four  lean  unshaven 
men  in  the  garret,  the  sculptor,  the  painter,  the  musician, 
and  the  poet.  Complaining  bitterly  of  their  luck,  their 
lamentations  are  turned  to  laughter  after  she  has  wrapped 
them  in  her  veil  through  which  they  glimpse  life  with  a 
rosy  tint. 

The  most  important  pg^  Azul  were  those  which 
voiced  the  feelings  excited  in  the  poet's  mind  by  the  four 
seasons  of  the  year.  Spring  of  course  suggests  love;  but 
so  do  the  others.    Summer  love  is  symbolized  in  the  mating 


of  Bengal  tigers.  That  day,  however,  the  tigress  was 
killed  in  the  hunt  by  the  Prince  of  Wales;  wherefore  the 
tiger  mourning  in  his  lair  dreamed  of  revenge,  of  sinking 
his  claws  in  the  tender  bosoms  of  children  and  maidens. 
Love  in  the  Autumn  is  tinged  with  the  melancholy  of  the 
season  of  dying  things;  nevertheless  a  friendly  fairy 
whispers  secrets  to  the  poet,  what  the  birds  are  singing, 
what  the  girls  are  dreaming.  As  for  Winter,  its  snows 
may  drive  men  from  the  city  streets  to  sit  by  the  fire  of 
crackling  logs,  but  what  better  music  to  accompany 
caresses  and  kisses.? 

The  peculiarities  and  excellencies  of  Azul  were  pointed 
out  by  Don  Juan  Valera  in  his  famous  criticism  printed  in 
his  Cartas  americanas.  The  Spanish  critic  was  impressed 
by  the  Gallic  quality  of  Dario*s  style,  especially  of  his 
prose.  As  his  language  was  excellent  Castilian,  Valera 
termed  Dario*s  Gallicism  mental  rather  than  verbal. 
Azul  was  a  pure  work_of  art  with  the  stamp  of  originality. 
Though  it  showed  that  its  autFoFwas^saturated  with  the 
most  extreme  type  of  French  literature,  he  imitated  ,no 
one  writer.  His  adoration  _of^  nature  was  pantheistic. 
And  though  at  times  there  was  an  exuberance  of  sensual 
love,  as  in  the  poems  on  the  seasons  of  the  year,  there  was 
something  religious  about  that  love.  Though  applauding 
the  perfection  of  his  "mental  Gallicism,"  Valera  wished 
that  there  occupied  a  larger  place  in  Dario's  art  the  teach- 
ings of  Spanish  literature.  As  for  the  title  of  the  book,  or 
more  especially  the  motto  from  Victor  Hugo,  "L'art, 
c'est  Tazur!"  it  seemed  to  the  critic  merely  an  empty 
phrase.    Why  is  art  blue  rather  than  green,  red,  or  yellow? 

Between  Azul,   published   in   1888,   and   Dario's  next 


[x)  volume  of  poems,  Pros  as  Prof  anas  ^  1896,  he  took  vast 
strides  along  the  road  of  mental  Gallicism.  While  there 
is  no  evidence  of  his  following  Valera's  advice  regarding 
the  study  of  Spanish  literature,  he  was  certainly  well 
read  in  the  classics  and  in  the  poets  of  the  fourteenth  and 
fifteenth  centuries.  He  even  wrote  poems  in  imitation 
of  the  archaic  and  introduced  archaic  words  into  his 
vocabulary.  Moreover,  he  undoubtedly  welcomed  any 
suggestion  that  came  to  him  from  the  work  of  his  con- 
temporaries. In  addition  those  eight  years  were  full  of 
experience.  In  Buenos  Aires,  an  enthusiastic  group  of 
young  men  formed  a  coterie  of  modemista  poets.  In  1892 
he  was  in  Europe.  In  Madrid,  where  he  represented 
Nicaragua  at  the  quadricentennial  celebration  of  the 
discovery  of  America,  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  the 
Andalusian  poet,  Salvador  Rueda.  For  the  latter's  En 
Tropel  Dario  wrote  some  verses  by  way  of  prologue  with 
the  title  P&fiiQO.  To  these  verses  are  commonly  ascribed 
the  entrance  into  Spanish  literature  of  the  modemista 
influence.  In  Paris  he  made  the  personal  acquaintance 
of  many  French  poets  as  well  as  a  rather  critical  study  of 
the  works  of  the  decadent  and  symbolist  schools.  The 
articles  which  he  contributed  to  periodicals  on  these  men 
were  collected  in  Los  Raros.  Taken  together  they  express 
Dario's  own  literary  ideal,  art  is  the  rare,  the  strange,  the 
unusual,  so  well  embodied  in  the  title  for  the  volume  of 
verses  which  he  wrote  during  these  years,  "  Profane 

But  to  please  this  poet's  sensibilities  the  strange  and 
rare  must  be  conjoined  with  the  elegant  and  the  sump- 
tuous.   His  artistic  creed  may  be  art  for  art's  sake,  with 


little  concern  for  conventional  morality,  but  he  has  no 
liking  for  the  ugly  and  vulgar.  He  is  no  follower  of 
Baudelaire.  Rather  his  exquisite  senses  demand  clean 
beauty,  fine  lace,  shining  jewels,  sweet  odors,  brilliant 
flowers,  the  refinements  of  classic  Greece  or  of  eighteenth- 
century  French  society.  The  lady  of  his  dreams  is  some- 
times typified  by  Leda,  more  often  she  is  a  marquise  of 
the  old  regime. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  versification,  Prosas  Prof  anas 
contains  all  manner  of  experiments  aiming  at  a  greater 
metrical  freedom  as  well  as  new  poetic  forms.  It  was  the 
poems  of  this  volume  that  gave  models  to  other  mod- 
emistas.  A  single  example  of  the  many  good  pieces  in 
it  is  the  favorite  Sinfonia  en  gris  mayor.  The  novelty  of 
this  poem,  the  emphasis  given  to  one  color  was  probably 
suggested  by  G^tier's  Symphonie  en  hlanc  majeure  but 
Dario  seems  to  have  applied  also  Rimbaud's  conception 
of  vocaHc  tone  color.  The  vowel  of  the  word  "gris" 
(gray),  the  only  assonance  used  throughout  the  poem, 
may  be  employed  even  in  the  English  rendering  for  the 
same  purpose. 

The  sea  as  in  a  silvered  glass 
Reflects  a  sky  as  gray  as  zinc; 
Afar  some  birds  in  bands,  like  stains, 
Into  the  polished  surface  sink. 

The  sun,  a  disk  opaque  and  round. 
Slow  climbs  the  zenith,  old  and  sick, 
The  seawind  rests  within  the  shade. 
Its  pillow  a  cloud-bank  gray  and  thick. 

The  waves  heaving  with  leaden  beat 
Beneath  the  wharf  their  moan  begin; 


A  sailor  sitting  on  a  coil  of  rope. 
Puffing  his  pipe,  is  rapt  in  thought 
Of  fog-clad  home  and  distant  kin. 

A  wandering  wolf  the  old  seadog; 
Brazilian  suns  have  tanned  his  skin; 
Typhoons  in  China,  fierce  and  wild. 
Have  seen  him  drink  his  flask  of  gin. 

His  nose  so  red  has  long  been  known 
To  salt  sea  spray,  which  knows  them  still,  i 
His  curly  hair,  his  biceps  huge, 
His  canvas  cap,  his  blouse  of  drill. 

Through  smoke  upcurling  from  his  pipe 
His  foggy  land  the  old  marine 
Can  glimpse,  from  where  one  sultry  day 
Shook  out  her  sails  his  barkentine. 

In  tropic  siesta  he  falls  asleep. 
While  gray  on  all  its  mark  imprints. 
The  sky  to  the  horizon  shows 
A  draftsman's  scale  of  grayish  tints. 

The  tropic  siesta:  the  locust  old 
Essays  her  guitar  hoarse  and  thin;     fV" 
The  cricket  plays  in  monotone  J^ 

On  the  single  string  of  her  violin.^     /jM^^^ 

The  preeminent  quality  of  the  verses  in  Prosas  Prof  anas 

,    was  grace;  in  his  next  volume  of  collected  poems.  Cantos 

[^)    de  Vida  y  Esperanza,  1905,  it  was  force.    Many  of  these 

poems  had   been   called   forth   by   public   events.     The 

Spanish-American  world  at  the  turn  of  the  century  had 

^  Version  of  Alfred  Coestcr. 


been  stirred  to  the  depths  of  its  soul,  first  by  the  revolu- 
tion in  Cuba,  and  second  by  the  Spanish-American  war. 
Though  sympathizing  with  Cuba  the  Spanish  Americans 
felt  the  call  of  the  race  against  the  great  northern  re- 
public. In  their  Tyrtaean  outcries  Ruben  Dario  followed 
rather  than  led. 

He  was  essentially  a  poet  of  personal  expression.  Writ- 
ing some  verses  as  an  introduction  to  the  Cantos  de  Vida  y 
Esperanza,  he  made  with  engaging  frankness  a  confession 
of  his  past  and  a  criticism  of  his  literary  career  which 
leaves  only  the  details  to  be  supplied  by  the  biographer. 
He  referred  to  the  ideas  of  his  youth,  his  sensuality,  his 
love  of  beauty,  the  bitterness  of  disillusion,  his  longing  for 
sincerity  in  art;  at  last  he  feels  that  "the  caravan  sets  out 
for  Bethlehem."  It  cannot  be  said,  however,  in  spite  of 
certain  poems  on  repentance,  that  Ruben  Dario  seriously 
renounced  his  Epicureanism  or  became  devout  as  did 
Verlaine  and  other  French  poets  of  his  acquaintance. 

Metrically  the  new  experiment  in  Cantos  de  Vida  y 
Esperanza  was  an  attempt  at  the  classic  hexameter,  the 
meter  which  he  selected  as  most  worthy  for  his  political 
themes.  In  La  Salutacion  al  Optimista,  beginning  with 
the  line, 

Inclitas  razas  uberrimas,  sangre  de  Hispania  fecunda, 

he  not  only  set  a  new  model  for  patriotic  utterances  in 
verse,  but  he  extended  a  greeting  to  Spanish  Americans 
urging  them  to  lay  aside  their  quarrels  and  look  to  the 
future  when  the  ancient  Latin  stock  should  rule  a  new 
continent.  The  enemy  most  to  be  feared  seemed  the 
"colossus  of  the  north"  which  for  the  moment  was  typified 


in  President  Roosevelt.  Accordingly  in  an  ode  A  Roose- 
velt, Dario  thus  abjured  the  bogey  of  Anglo-Saxon  domina- 

'Tis  only  with  the  Bible  or  Walt  Whitman's  verse, 

That  you,  the  mighty  hunter,  are  reached  by  other  men. 

You're  primitive  and  modern,  you're  simple  and  complex, 

A  veritable  Nimrod  with  aught  of  Washington. 

You  are  the  United  States; 

You  are  the  future  foe 

Of  free  America  that  keeps  its  Indian  blood, 

That  prays  to  Jesus  Christ,  and  speaks  in  Spanish  still. 

You  are  a  fine  example  of  a  strong  and  haughty  race; 

You're  learned  and  you're  clever;  to  Tolstoy  you're  oppose  d; 

And  whether  taming  horses  or  slaying  savage  beasts, 

You  seem  an  Alexander  and  Nebuchadnezzar  too. 

As  madmen  to-day  are  wont  to  say. 

You're  a  great  professor  of  energy. 

You  seem  to  be  persuaded 

That  life  is  but  combustion, 

That  progress  is  eruption, 

And  where  you  send  the  bullet    j 

You  bring  the  future. 

The  United  States  are  rich;  they're  powerful  and  epyit; 
They  join  the  cult  of  Mammon  to  that  of  Hercirfes, 
And  when  they  stir  and  roar,  the  very  Andes  shake.  .  .  . 

But  our  America,  which  since  the  ancient  times 

Has  had  its  native  poets;  which  lives  on  fire  and  light. 

On  perfumes  and  on  love;  our  vast  America, 

The  land  of  Montezuma,  the  Inca's  mighty  realm. 

Of  Christopher  Columbus  the  fair  America, 

America  the  Spanish,  the  Roman  Catholic, 

O  men  of  Saxon  eyes  and  fierce  barbaric  soul. 

This  land  still  lives  and  dreams,  and  loves  and  stirs  I 


Take  care! 
The  daughter  of  the  Sun,  the  Spanish  land  doth  live! 
And  from  the  Spanish  lion  a  thousand  whelps  have  sprung! 
*Tis  need,  O  Roosevelt,  that  you  be  God  himself  .  .  . 
Before  you  hold  us  fast  in  your  grasping  iron  claws. 

And  though  you  count  on  all,  one  thing  is  lacking, — God!* 

This  popular  and  interesting  expression  of  the  common 
Spanish-American  conception  of  the  United  States  was 
largely  repudiated  by  Dario  in  a  subsequent  poem  Salu- 
tacion  al  Jguila,  written  to  welcome  the  North  American 
delegates  to  the  Pan-American  Congress  held  in  Brazil 
in  1906.  In  this  poem  he  prays  for  the  secret  of  the  north- 
^  em  republic's  political  and  material  success  and  reminds 
the  Eagle  that  the  Condor  exists  with  his  brother  in  the 
lofty  heights.  Together  they  may  achieve  marvels. 
Rather  than  write  such  sentiments  as  these  a  Venezuelan 
critic  said  he  would  have  cut  off  his  hand. 

The  volume  in  which  this  poem  was  printed,  pi  Canto 
trrante,  1907,  contained  verses  of  many  periods  grouped 
to  bring  out  the  idea  suggested  by  the  title  that  the  poet's 
mission  is  to  travel  over  the  universe  seeking  beauty  every- 
where and  express  it  in  beautiful  language,  for  the  soul  of 
all  things  is  Beauty.  This  pantheistic  notion  is  a  leading 
characteristic  of  some  of  Dario's  followers. 

The  modemista  school  in  so  far  as  it  was  influenced  by 
Ruben  Dario,  started  with  imitation  of  Jzul  and  the 
verses  collected  in  Prosas  Prof  anas.  The  establishment  of 
the  Revista  Latina  by  his  coterie  in  Buenos  Aires  was 
the  signal  for  ambitious  young  men  in  other  centers  of 
»VersionofE.C.  Hills. 


Latin  culture  in  America  to  found  such  periodicals  as 
La  Revista  Azul  in  Mexico,  Cosmopolis  in  Caracas,  and 
Pluma  i  Ldpiz  in  Santiago  de  Chile.  These  periodicals 
were  short  lived  but  stimulated  the  establishment  of  El 
Cojo  Ilustrado  of  Caracas  and  the  Revista  Moderna  of 
Mexico,  both  of  which  for  more  than  a  decade  at  the  turn 
of  the  century  were  the  leading  literary  journals  of  Latin 
America.  In  them  might  be  read  the  best  literature  that 
was  being  produced.  No  poet,  however,  developed  the 
versatility  of  Ruben  Dario  though  in  Buenos  Aires  there 
were  several  writers  with  distinct  personalities  working 
along  original  lines. 
\/  Of  these  Leopoldo  Diaz,  bom  1862,  selected  the  sonnet 

as  his  favorite  mode  of  expression  and  was  really  a  Par- 
nassian in  the  manner  of  the  French  poet,  J.  M.  de  Heredia. 
The  sonnets  reveal  a  sensuous  love  of  beauty  under  the 
guise  of  Hellenism,  which  is  not  derived,  however,  from 
a  study  of  ancient  Greece,  but  from  Parisian  poets.  Fol- 
lowing the  trend  of  his  contemporary  Americans,  Diaz 
wrote  one  volume  of  sonnets  devoted  to  the  early  Spaniards 
in  America,  Los  Conquistadores.  In  all  his  work  Diaz' 
special  merit  is  his  clever  handling  of  the  Spanish  language. 
In  regard  to  it  the  French  critic,  Remy  de  Gourmont,  in  a 
preface  to  a  French  translation  of  Las  Sombras  de  Hellas, 
coined  the  term  "neo-espanol." 

He  said:  "The  Spanish  language  lives  again  free  and 
rejuvenated  in  the  old  Castilian  colonies  which  have 
become  proud  republics.  This  new  literature  owes  little 
to  Spain  beside  the  language;  its  ideas  are  European.  Its 
intellectual  capital  is  Paris.  ...  In  the  purest  'new- 
Spanish'   Diaz  sings  of    Greek   beauty.     This  language 


more  supple  than  the  rude  classic  Castilian  is  also  more 
clear;  the  phrase  constructed  in  the  French  manner  pur- 
sues a  course  more  logical,  more  according  to  the  natural 
course  of  thought." 

Such  ideas  raised  a  storm  of  protest  from  Spaniards, 
while  Spanish  Americans  were  not  quite  content  to  agree 
to  all  its  implications.  Their  efforts  to  enrich  their  vo- 
cabulary were  by  no  means  limited  to  Gallicisms,  for 
they  studied  the  Spanish  classics  and  revived  many  old 
terms  as  well  as  adopted  such  aboriginal  words  as  repre- 
sented native  conditions.  Those  members  of  the  literary 
coterie  in  Buenos  Aires  who  most  consciously  strove 
for  a  richer  and  more  expressive  vocabulary  were  Ricardo 
Jaimes  Freyre  and  Leopoldo  Lugones. 

R.  Jaimes  Freyrejs  a  Bolivian  by  birth,  and  by  profes-  X 
sion  a  professor  in  the  University  of  Tucuman.  He  was 
associated  with  Ruben  Dario  in  the  publication  of  the 
Revista  Latina.  His  most  notable  poems  were  a  series  of 
picturesque  evocations  of  the  life  of  the  pampas  and 
certain  experiments  in  the  treatment  of  exotic  themes, 
especially  those  derived  from  Scandinavian  mythology. 
To  the  collection  he  gave  the  title  Castalia  Barbara. 

Lugones  has  written  more  extensively  and  on  more  X 
varied  topics,  progressing  from  a  somewhat  metaphysical 
type  of  verse  to  the  production  of  essays  on  political  and 
even  mathematical  topics.  His  latest  enterprise  was  the 
editing  in  French  of  the  Revue  Sud-Americaine  which, 
printed  in  Paris,  had  for  its  purpose  a  wide  diffusion  of 
knowledge  of  Spanish-American  affairs.  From  his  earliest 
verses  in  Montanas  del  Oro,  or  his  prose  in  his  romantic 
history  of  Paraguay,  El  Irnperiojesjatico,  the  choice  of 



words  has  been  Lugones'  special  care.  In  describing  na- 
ture he  wished  to  enter  into  the  soul  of  the  mountain 
crags  or  the  fruits  of  the  fields.  At  times  he  accomplished 
this  by  calling  to  mind  the  finished  product  of  which  the 
com,  the  cotton  or  the  flax  was  the  simplest  and  first 
element.  What  more  poetic  or  more  vivid  word  picture 
of  a  flax  field  in  bloom  than  this?  "Let  us  praise  the 
flax  in  bloom,  whose  flowers  are  like  shepherd  girls  dressed 
in  their  Sunday  best  of  simple  blue  at  the  edge  of  the 
dusty  paths." 

By  the  publication  of  his  volume  Crepusculos  del  Jardin, 
Lugones  won  a  following  in  Argentina.  About  one-half 
of  the  poems  in  this  book  were  sonnets  in  a  very  elegant 
and  delicate  style  dealing  with  love  and  melancholy. 
Their  structure,  however,  was  simpler  than  those  of  the 
Uruguayan  Herrera  y  Reissig  by  whom  Lugones  appeared 
to  have  been  influenced.  But  Lugones*  constant  striving 
after  eff^ect  led  to  extravagance  in  the  collection  of  poems 
entitled  Lunario  Sentimental  whose  main  purpose  seems 
to  be  to  astound  the  commonplace  reader. 

The  desire  to  be  understood  only  by  the  elect,  a  sort  of 
new  Gongorism,  which  is  present  even  in  Dario's  poems, 
X  was  carried  to  the  limit  by  the  Uruguayan  Julio  Herrera  y 
Reissig  (died  1909).  His  sonnets,  in  spite  of  their  in- 
volved rhetorical  structure  and  their  unusual  terms,  pos- 
sess considerable  beauty.  For  that  reason  since  the 
poet's  death  they  have  been  "discovered"  and  are  being 
read  again. 

But  obscurity  or  whimsicality  was  too  often  taken  by 
the  less  gifted  modemista  poets  to  be  the  acme  of  art. 
One   whose   eccentricity,  however,   amounts   to   positive 


genius  is  the  Mexican  Amado  Nervo.  The  bulk  of  his  > 
writing  i